Saturday, May 30, 2015

The melon fields of Yuma and a failed attempt at Garrett's Arch in Joshua Tree

This is the time of year where I am required to work in Yuma. Normally, I suffer through the experience and come away thankful that I live where I live and have the life that I have. This time was a little different. Our melon trials were planted in an earlier slot (you may recall I was in Arizona in early February, that was to  plant them) and we really lucked out this time with some incredibly pleasant weather. This was the first time to evaluate a trial in Yuma where the temperature stayed under 100.

The difference this made to my state of mind was like night and day and I actually enjoyed my time there. It helped that we had a lot of great materials to evaluate and brix were going through the roof. Brix is a measure of sugar compounds, and makes the melons taste sweet, this year was a landmark, we were getting brix as high as 19, in western shippers! I know I know, this means nothing to 95% of you but you can take my word that this is really great.

Getting up at 4 am is not my favorite thing to do but at least there are nice sunrises.

Of course, no trip to Yuma would be complete without a stop over in Joshua Tree National Park.

Our goal this year was to find Garett's Arch, reported to be the largest arch in the park and hidden in the Wonderland of Rocks. This landmark is a little easier to find than some of the other hidden gems we have discovered, there are at least GPS coordinates.

Rakesh and I started out at the parking lot for the Barker Dam and followed a well defined trail up to the Wonderland Ranch. I had been here before so this was nothing new, but still interesting to find the ruins of a pink house. I wonder why it was pink?

After the ranch we used the garmin gps, normally for driving, to navigate towards our goal. This is not the best application for this type of gps but we figured it would be good enough. We knew the right direction, it was just a matter of moving through and around the terrain to get there.

This is probably too much information but I had an emergency bowel movement, without any form of toilet paper. Normally, this would not bother me too much, but out here there really are not any nice leaves to use, sticks and rocks had to suffice. You can use your imagination...

After doing some minor bouldering we found an old stamp mill where they used to process rocks for gold dust. This is one of the cool things about roaming around out here, the relics of abandoned dreams are everywhere.

There were a few rusting trucks as well, always fun to play around on.

Eventually we made it to where our GPS said we should find the arch and we were very disappointed. It really didn't look like much at all. Well, it turns out that we entered the wrong coordinates, the car GPS only takes degrees and minutes but not seconds and we didn't realize this. So... fail, no Garett's Arch.

not Garrett's Arch

But at least we had a good time and it is pretty much guaranteed that there will be a beautiful sunrise and sunset.