18-Feb-2007 -- I was staying with my dad in Indio this weekend, and I persuaded him to come with me to this confluence, which is in Joshua Tree National Park. We left at about 6 AM and took Hwy 62 to 29 Palms, about 80 miles away. We took the north entrance to the Park, as it is the closest to the confluence. From Belle Campground, it is only a mile away, and that is where we started walking. On the drive up I was concerned that our trip would be futile, because the sky was mildly cloudy and we frequently lost the satellites. But once we started walking, the signal was clear and strong.
The confluence is at the top of a steep hill, but as others have reported, the walk leading up to the hill is fairly easy. We wound our way over rocks, around joshua trees and shrubs, and through soft, sandy washes as the slope gradually grew steeper. Though it was quite cool, I found myself getting hot, so I took off my jacket and set it on what I thought would be a prominent tree to see on my way back.
My dad stayed behind as I began the climb up. It grew very steep almost immediately and the ground was covered with loose rock which made the going slow. It wasn't long before my heart started pounding and my lungs started burning. I really need to get into better shape for this. The altitude didn't help either, it being the high desert. I found the climb to be a bit easier by zigzagging up the hill instead of going straight up. Once I reached the top of the hill, it was only a matter of walking over more level ground a few hundred yards to the confluence, which was a little ways down the hill on the other side. Even in the dull light of a cloudy day, it was a spectacular view. After I took the requisite pictures, I left my stuff at the confluence while I walked out to the top of the hill where I could radio my dad that I had made it was heading back down.
When I turned and headed back, I found that I didn't recognize where the confluence was, and I couldn't see my stuff in all the confused jumble of rock and brush. I spent about 20 minutes walking back and forth over the slope trying to see something that I recognized. I was foolish enough not to have brought the GPS with me. I looked at the landscape and watched for angles I saw when I took the pictures, and by doing that I finally found my way back. I picked up my stuff and headed back down.
Unfortunately, when I set the Back Trac function on my GPS I erased my path up the hill. I made my way back down the hill, and it proved as slow a trip as the way up, but it was a bit trickier to fight gravity over the loose rocks. Once I got to level ground, I tried to search around for the tree that held my waiting jacket. After looking around for a while with my dad's help, I finally had to give up and leave my jacket for some lucky explorer to find.