12 December 2012 at 8:26 pm
It’s of a lot of Yuccas. Or is it the homo spp we’re focusing on? Oh, botanical Wodensday.
12 December 2012 at 8:36 pm
Looks like something out of the earliest era of plants – Carboniferous era or the one just before that. Freaky, magnificent trees. Love the way they look.
Imagines a whole swamp of them with giant horsetails and monstrously huge insects, dragonflies with metre long wings and millipedes the size of big fallen logs and strange looking amphibians as the most advanced creatures around all in a super-oxygenated atmosphere.
12 December 2012 at 8:45 pm
Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia
12 December 2012 at 8:48 pm
Carboniferous era or the one just before that.
Turns out to be the Devonian :
See image there.
Chris Clarke says
12 December 2012 at 8:49 pm
I hate when you’re trying to get a nice long-focus shot of the Metallogenium in the rock and your autofocus grabs onto the boring old tracheophytes.
(Though they might look prehistoric, Yuccas are actually a really recent innovation. )
12 December 2012 at 9:17 pm
My old stomping ground, the Mojave.
The Mellow Monkey: Caerie says
12 December 2012 at 9:29 pm
Aw. Makes me miss growing up in the desert.
12 December 2012 at 10:28 pm
Isn’t that where Kirk fought the Gorn?
12 December 2012 at 10:52 pm
Been there, climbed that!
Don’t miss a tour through Joshua Tree N.M. if you ever make it to Southern CA.
12 December 2012 at 11:04 pm
of all the places I have been the wonderland of Rocks is by far the most dramatic. When the light is just right and the correct vantage point is achieved it is possible to watch the rocks moving up out of the ground. a very humbling place.
John Morales says
12 December 2012 at 11:06 pm
That’s a happy-looking rock — reminds me a bit of Jabba the Hutt.
12 December 2012 at 11:38 pm
You can always tell the old Mojave hands by the way they still quaintly call it a National Monument. Like the New York cabdrivers that still call it Sixth Avenue.
12 December 2012 at 11:49 pm
Ichthyic, Cap Rock it is. There are some even better routes on the N. Side of it. The prominent crack on the lower right side is a classic but it is pin scarred, as is the hairline crack above which allows it to go free. JT is kinda rock-jock paradise. It is now an N.P. though and the rules are much more restrictive than when it was a N.M. We’ve crossed paths before. I find it a little surprising that a fish guy would have been plugged into the high desert batholiths but hey, stranger stuff happens all the time.
Yes that is Yucca brevifolia, AKA Joshua trees. I know zip about their natural history so I will go with Clarkes comment that they are a fairly recent addition. The desert is a nice place, full of wonders that you can’t quite grasp until you get on the ground and spend some time.
I was lucky enough to have about ten years of time to drive out and spend weekends at JT, I liked it best in the summer when it was really hot and there was no one else there. It was profoundly silent. It is a kind of mecca for rock climbers because it is dry and fairly warm even in winter. The biggest routes are just down the road a bit on Cowboy crags. And there are a few in the Wonderland as well like on Astrodome. It is also an international attraction. I ran into Ron Fawcett there about 20 years after climing with him for a few days on the Cookie crags and the lower pitches of the Nose on El Cap back in the 70’s. Lots of memories.
I don’t see any squid.
12 December 2012 at 11:54 pm
Squid are masters of camouflage.
13 December 2012 at 12:05 am
Clarke, yeah it isn’t the same thing is it? I have to say I was a little shocked when about ten years ago I was going up to climb on Lumpy Ridge near Estes Park and encountered a couple of rangers who had semi-automatic hand guns. For some reason their presence did not make me feel “safe”.
Now, thanks to the wisdom of some nut job somewhere, it is permissible to have a loaded firearm in your possession within an National Park. What are they trying to do, create a kind of “West World” fantasy park?
I have spent 40 years working in the wilderness all over the world and never once have I needed a weapon for any reason.
13 December 2012 at 12:11 am
Morales – you are of course correct, I overlooked that fact. I was bitten once by a squid who had disguised itself as a webersteritic harzburguite. That won’t happen again.
13 December 2012 at 12:12 am
Those juvenile joshua trees can be pretty fierce when they hide in other vegetation. Hurts like hell to trip over one/kick one. :/
Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says
13 December 2012 at 12:20 am
::snark hat firmly on::
Ah it’s just a bunch o’ rocks. You can do better PZ. Come on, rock our world!
(Yup, I went there)
13 December 2012 at 12:49 am
We’ve crossed paths before.
I used to frequent JT from about 1983-1993 and 2001-2007.
13 December 2012 at 2:31 am
would have been in the 83-93 window, but I was actually referring to other threads on other blogs, and
perhaps talk origins…
13 December 2012 at 6:41 am
Looks like one of those offworld colonies….
I see a big lump of silicaceous life looming over the plain and its tree-shaped vertebrates.
The air looks blue…methane?
Gvlgeologist, FCD says
13 December 2012 at 6:50 am
I don’t see any squid.
It may just be me, but my first thought upon seeing the rock formation (and given the cephalopodphila (?) of our blogger) was, “Wow, that looks like the head of a cuttlefish!” Just imagine the small rock just below the top of the hill (not on the left, but downslope towards the photographer) as an eye, the slope in all directions as merging towards the tentacles, and the rocks to the left and to the side as the base of the tentacles. Look here for instance: http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg/files/2011/11/da-cuttlefish.jpg [my apologies if the picture is inserted – it doesn’t show in the preview so I assume it won’t in the post]
Hey, if others can see Christ in toast, I can see cuttlefish in rocks!
Gregory in Seattle says
13 December 2012 at 8:37 am
With the Pacific tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis), who’s to say there’s no such thing as a Mojave sand squid (Illex sabulo)?
13 December 2012 at 9:28 am
Gregory – What, you’re not going to post the Conservapedia link?
Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says
13 December 2012 at 9:33 am
I still call Death Valley a National Monument because that’s what it was when I lived there. Waiting for all those damn mining claims had to expire.
I don’t see any squid.
Squid are masters of camouflage.
The rare and endangered Mojave Tree Squid?
I have to say I was a little shocked when about ten years ago I was going up to climb on Lumpy Ridge near Estes Park and encountered a couple of rangers who had semi-automatic hand guns. For some reason their presence did not make me feel “safe”.
They are federal law enforcement officers. And national parks are some of the safest areas in the entire country in terms of crime rate.
That nutjob was George W. Bush. He jammed through, in his last days, a rule making it legal to carry loaded fire arms in all national park service units (within local and/or state laws). I think he figured that Obama would toss it out which would have given a shit ton of ammunition to the gun nuts.
The LE Rangers spend 99.9% of their time dealing with visitors. And the wildlife they deal with are generally visitors who are drunk.
I’m an interpretive park ranger in the NPS. Whether one is in interpretation, law enforcement, or natural/cultural resources, our basic job is the same: protect the resource, help the visitor understand the resource, keep the visitor reasonably safe. Park rangers all have the same job — interpreters do it proactively (through education and information), LEOs do it re-actively (as police officers) and resource people try to mitigate the damage while making things accessible. Doesn’t always work as well as it should, though.
commercial over. sorry.
Markita Lynda—threadrupt says
13 December 2012 at 9:36 am
I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be a paleocuttle or a giant’s phallus.
How common are fatal climbing accidents there?
13 December 2012 at 11:36 am
Markita – not common at all.
13 December 2012 at 12:23 pm
As soon as I saw that I thought “Wow! Cap rock at Joshua Tree”. I know I’ve climbed the route directly above the car. I’ve probably done other routes around that rock (and several more on other rocks in that area).
My wife and I spent a good portion of our honeymoon 17 years ago rock climbing at J-Tree and Taquitz/Suicide.
13 December 2012 at 1:33 pm
Sweeney Granite Mountains?
13 December 2012 at 1:43 pm
I was wondering because a friend’s fiance died in a climbing accident, I think at Joshua Tree; but that was several years ago. Also, I see someone died in October there and another one in April 2011 and one in March 2009. So I’m guessing about one a year. That doesn’t make them horribly dangerous; one or two people freeze to death in the Greater Toronto area every year, sometimes just because their car breaks down. Of course, more people live in Toronto than climb in Joshua Tree. My feeling, however, is that all you need to know about climbing is that your pitons can perform a manoeuvre called “zippering out.”
13 December 2012 at 1:59 pm
It’s my understanding that the rangers in some parks are concerned about being attacked by poachers.
13 December 2012 at 2:58 pm
13 December 2012 at 8:24 pm
Markita – virtually no-one uses pitons any more. Well, JT has probably become a lot more popular in the last two decades than it was when I was climbing there actively. But you might be surprised at the number of people who go there to climb. Nothing like the pop. of Toronto of course but a lot of people..
JT is generally pretty safe and forgiving. Weather is rarely a factor though flashflooding can be a problem in summer rainstorms. Most routes that are very hard to protect ‘naturally’ are bolted. The routes tend to be difficult and therefore daunting to the inexperienced. The rock is generally sound. One factor might be that most of the routes are short so it might tempt people to try free solos. I did quite a bit of that myself but only on lines that I had completely wired.
My favorite season was summer. The place was empty. But full of silence.
14 December 2012 at 4:08 am
[OT + meta]
(That was a really good comment and informative to boot, and I think you apologise too much for too little too often, and I wish you weren’t so apologetic)
14 December 2012 at 3:49 pm
One factor might be that most of the routes are short so it might tempt people to try free solos.
seriously, only on the really short ones though!
14 December 2012 at 3:51 pm
My favorite season was summer.
EARLY in the morning.
14 December 2012 at 10:33 pm
Ichthyic – I almost lost this thread had to search for it….
I didn’t really mind the 100+ degree temps. Just had to stay hydrated. For a weekend I would take 10 gallons of water and 2-3 gallons of pineapple juice. Or sometimes grapefruit. Worked well.
Yes I sort of worked out a routine over the years, starting with easy routes at Trash Can Rock and then
working my way into the monument to different outcrops. The hardest solos I ever did were 5.8 or so and that was the limit, I had no particular desire to become coyote food. The hardest of those was a
route at Hidden Valley called double cross. It had an awkward overhanging move into a good crack that was about 50′ off the ground and a bad landing. I only did it twice. I regularly did a route on headstone
rock that was rated 5.7, I forget the name now but it was extra special because you had to carry a rope soyou could rappel off. It was either that or downclimb the 5.6 route which was way awkward.
JT was really a magical place back in those days. It still is I am sure but I don’t think quite as magical as when there was noone else there. For me climbing was always a lot about either solitude or very minimal society. Good times.