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| Debbie Miller | Trip Reports

2023 Trip Report - Sunny and Jean on the Loose - Again!

Sunny and Jean On the Loose – Again!

Trip Notes – Joshua Tree – Carey’s Castle – March 2023 • Smilin’ Jean Hansen reporting

Sunday, March 26, 2023: We left home at 10:00 a.m., stopped for gas/ice, and drove down the Cajon Pass on I-15/I-215, then east on I-10, stopping in Indio, for gas and food. Then we drove further west on I-10 and turned north on Hayfield Road to camp. Nice happy hour with a great view of the valley below, although it was very cold.

Monday, March 27, 2023: We left camp at 9:30 a.m. on foot to hike up-canyon to: 

1. Carey’s Castle: This was an 8-mile round-trip hike up a truly beautiful boulder-strewn canyon with 1,000-foot elevation gain. One minute we’d be strolling along a sandy wash and the next minute, we’d be climbing boulder choke-points. It went like that for the entire 4 miles to Carey’s Castle. It was one of the prettier hikes we’ve taken – we hit the wildflowers just right and they were blooming spectacularly in the sandy areas and up in rocky nooks. Plenty of bluebells (my personal favorite) along with all the other ones in various colors. We reached Carey’s Castle about 3 hours into the hike. This was one we’d seen before, many years ago, before digital, about 1982 or 1983. It still looked the same, except for someone has piled some type of lumber on the bedsprings. Otherwise, all the same. It is an old hollow boulder, first used by the native Americans and has several archaic red pictographs on the ceiling, as well as one petroglyph on the outside of the boulder. We don’t know who cemented in all the stones to close up the shelter and make it weather-proof – assume it was either Carey or another miner. Anyway, it is kind of charming, with the bedspring, shelves loaded with all types of cans and window and door. We had a good look around, then went back outside, carefully closing the latches and had lunch. After lunch, we hiked a little further up-canyon to see:

2. The mine, which we had also seen before. It has now been covered for safety by the park service, so I couldn’t really get a good picture of the old wooden ladder in it. After we saw the mine, we hiked 4-miles back to the truck and at this point, decided to just go home. ~ Jean


Interior shelves
Interior-shelves  doorway
Jean in doorway 1
Jean in doorway