04-Apr-2004 -- After reaching the confluence in Joshua Tree NP, I decided to take on confluence continuing along 34N. Dan came along on this one. We found the Rice-Midland Rd. Parked at the closest point to the confluence which was 6.54 miles.
We started out on a dirt road that was described by the first attemptor, but quickly got off it and headed straight line to the confluence. It was slow at first trying to get up and down the many washes, but after we passed near the base of the Arica Mtns it became much more subtle.
In one of the washes we saw a very tall Ocotillo plant that was as tall as the wash(Picture #7).
After the Aricas, near one of the many gentle hills we came across a desert tortoise. It must have seen us coming because by the time we saw it it was already inside its shell waiting for us to leave.
The trip from there to the confluence was over snake hills and granite gravel. I got pretty good at recognizing the snake compounds and only occassionally sinking into one.
We reached the confluence and took the various pics. On the way back, though, I saw a dirt road on my GPS map and decided to go for it. (How I missed it before?) But, when I got to the point, no road to speak of. So looking at the GPS again, I saw a wash that somewhat made a line back to the truck. We saw what seemed to be human footprints that had been recently, partially washed away. (The wash had many spots that were still wet.) After reading Shawn Fleming's report from February, it must have been his. (Just a guess) After a while in the wash, I found we were drifting away slightly from the truck, and decided that it was getting late and started out across the plain toward a small area of stunted trees back to the truck.
It was a great 04-04-04.