Post Summer Rain
(This page contains mainly 3D Anaglyphs that will require red–cyan glasses to see the full 3D effect, followed by Half Side-by-Sides for TV viewing. See below for the exclusive Echo Rock to Piano Valley 2D Gallery. Click Photos to Enlarge.)
Trek date: 2013 Sep 11, post-Summer Rains. Return visit (with new additions): 2016 May 28.
See Also In-Depth
2D ♦ Echo Rock
View from the nearby Little Rock Candy Mountain at The Candy Bar. Click to Enlarge.
- Echo Rock Area
- Little Hunk & Big Hunk Preview
- Piano Valley to Barker Dam
- Barker Dam to Cave Rock
- Cave Rock and Return
- Cute Arch/Scooped Rock
Map of this 3D Photojournal including Areas Visited
3D Half Side-by-Sides at bottom of page. Those preferring to see 2D images only may visit the Echo Rock to Piano Valley 2D Gallery.
- Use glasses to view 3D Anaglyphs
- Click pictures to Enlarge
MY BARKER DAM RETURN-TRIP of September, 2013, begins at Echo Rocks climbing area. It then heads east into Piano Valley, past The Candy Bar area, and on to Barker Dam. I found a beautiful oasis at the dam that day since a wet summer thunderstorm had passed through the region the day before. Barker Dam was constructed in 1900 by early cattlemen, “who used Queen Valley to graze their stock. C.O. Barker was one of the men behind building the original nine-foot-tall dam,” explains E! on his Cali49 website. Improved and heightened by William Keys in 1950, it now sports its current size and form. (Reflect on the Barker Dam Oasis Gallery on a separate page.)
The area around Echo Rock(s)—for there is an assortment of rock-climbs next to Echo Rock proper—was lush from recent summer storms. In fact, the ground was still damp. The monsoon had caused extensive flooding in Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree townships outside the park. Sand and gravel covered Park Blvd. in a few areas. But what a nice, after-the-storm fragrance in the air that morning! The temperature rose to around 79F while I 3D’d my way along the chosen path—with a modicum of humidity to make your photographer sweat. Gratifyingly, there was also a breeze. For the earlier, January 2013 trip photos, see Piano Valley Nature Walk Gallery.
(Note: I have added a few new 2D photographs from a May 2016 visit to the area.)
For a nice diversion, consider these gorgeous Barker Dam & Piano Valley galleries by my Munzee-crazed friend, Nikon-E! — HERE, and HERE, along with his Brunette Lady and the Red Lady of Joshua Tree Native American rock-art, which anthropologists call pictographs. These are in the Barker Dam area, if you know where to find them.
Need to get INTO a tight spot? Pictograph-ogropher E! will oblige.
1. Echo Rock
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS. The ground was still moist from the previous day’s rainstorm, displaying a patchwork carpet of yellow, thickest in the hollows. (FYI, hollows are larger than basins but smaller than declivities. There will be a cute raised granite basin, brimful with rainwater, later in this series. Perfect for a toddler’s splashing pool. Look for it.)
The trail from the gravel car lot to Echo Rock crosses a sandy wash before depositing the visitor at the EBGB area. Those rock-climbers! EBGB rock-climb-names seem to be associated with the Tarzan stories. EBGB itself is a large block that sits high on a pile of rocks in front of Echo Rock’s broad western face. That’s it, front and center. (Click to Enlarge) →
The prominent boulder is “Jane’s Getting Serious.” The large granite dome behind—Echo Rock—is separated from the smaller EBGB’s formation by a narrow gap. You cannot see the gap from this angle, even in 3D.
← The yellow ground cover was pungently aromatic. Readers who are thinking about little jumpy frogs right now, I will get to them shortly. If they were present near Echo Rock, I wasn’t aware of it.
Rock climbers are an entirely distinct sub-species from Natural Human Beings. No other way to put it. They have staked out their routes here. From Vogel’s book, most EBGB climbs appear to be Difficult, with one in particular a tough cookie of the Species: the aforementioned “Jane’s Getting Serious.” There are other “climbs” as well, like “Chaos,” “EBGB’s,” (with four-star rating, ooo! lah-lah!)—plus, “Cheetah,” “Tarzan,” “Zondo’s Perks,” “Sinner’s Swing,” “Sin City,” and “The Turd.” Echo Rock itself—I’ve been describing EBGB’s nomenclature—lays claim to an incredible 50+ rock climbs! All with fanciful names. Enjoy the 3D shots I took in and around this area before heading to Piano Valley. I returned about mid-afternoon through the thick brush & Joshua Tree-strewn corridor that divides Echo Rock and Echo Cove. In this shot you see a portion of the Echo Cove Rocks, a stone’s throw from EBGB’s and Echo Rock.
“Big Hunk,” (far left) ♦ “Little Hunk” with “The Chair” ♦ “Snickers” (center-rear) ♦ “Little Rock Candy Mountain,” (front-right)
In the block of 3D Anaglyphs which follows, the two Echo formations and their dividing corridor are prominent. The trail then swings back around to the right side of Echo Rock and Little Hunk/Big Hunk as part of The Candy Bar area east, per the map. Murbachi, ever clicking away rabidly on his Fuji camera’s shutter button, snapped some 3D photographs for you to view. Hover the mouse over the large Mosaic-grid images to activate any pop-up comments.
In the Morning ♦ Outward Bound
Mid-Afternoon ♦ Inward Bound
2. Little Hunk and Big Hunk Area
WE LEAVE ECHO ROCK, yet it still dominates the desert flatland here. The trail hugs the inner margin of Piano Valley from this point on, curving east along the edge of The Candy Bar. It is difficult to take shots of Little Hunk or its big brother from their bases without a detour to the center of the valley. Late in the afternoon, upon my return trip which follows Piano Valley’s northern edge, the 3D camera was able to get them-thar two Hunks with more precision.
This alcove is part of The Candy Bar group of formations. I came across a fine-looking little granite arch rock between Mounds (on the right in the third image) and Little Hunk with its Chair-shaped boulder sitting atop (beyond the arch in the first and second shots):
Piano Valley appears once you amble around Little Hunk’s northernmost point. The well-defined path continues towards Barker Dam gap in the distance. It was about this time that I began to notice movement underfoot. Hundreds if not thousands of little frogs the size of the first joint of your thumb.
E!’s close-up of a red-spotted toad (click to embiggen)
A couple of weeks later, my friend E! corrected me. He too had seen them when he visited Barker Dam and Piano Valley five days after I was there. Turns out, they are red-spotted toads and not frogs; they only come out from underground after periods of intense rainfall. I had to watch where I was stepping. E! says he had the same problem, since they were everywhere. With the newly sprouted ground cover, the air was humming with bees gathering pollen. Toads, bees, and 3D photographers: the summer desert had come alive!
3. Piano Valley to Barker Dam
“A GOLFER would declare this to be ‘casual water’ were he to find his ball in here. But no golfer in his right mind would ever try a penalty drop. A golfing rock-climber, perhaps, but no sane Normal Person…” — The Management (from his secret bunker)
This small residual rain puddle in a cavity in the rock is located at the base of Big Hunk, which towers above. Big Hunk is one of the rock-climbing formations in The Candy Bar group. The last shot includes a portion of Little Hunk with its hidden, almost inaccessible, The Shady Grove, tucked between the two.
Big Hunk on left
Lush vegetation from summer rains
4. Barker Dam to Cave Rock
Big Hunk ♦ Little Hunk ♦ Echo Rock
Caution: Please Do Not Touch the Prehistoric Pictographs Inside
5. Cave Rock and Return
3D Half Side-by-Sides
Download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you like. Share them with your 3D friends. (You may share them also with any 2D acquaintances, for that matter.) Advisory: the above 3D H-SBS images should be saved only if you have or know someone who has a 3D TV to watch them on. Otherwise viewing them properly will prove fruitless.
I hope that you enjoyed this 3D tour through Piano Valley.
Posted 2014 Oct 16
Updated 2017 Mar 4