Jellystone to Mel’s Diner
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- Pet Rock • Jellystone
- Brian’s Crag • Lizard’s Hangout
- Roadside Rock • Mel’s Diner • Bush Dome
Trek Dates: 2014 Nov 4, 2015 Jan 2 and Oct 6
VISITORS WILL ENCOUNTER several interesting rock piles and crags rising from the desert floor at Lost Horse Valley’s northern edge. The largest among these is Mel’s Diner. Each of the ‘named’ formations listed above attracts rock climbers, of course. It was they who coined the unusual nicknames for the features around Joshua Tree National Park, as well as for the individual climbing routes.
The diminutive Lizard’s Hangout is a particular favorite of mine, which friend Elliot Koeppel (E!) and I photographed early in January, 2015. There were several climbers aboard despite the 32F temperature and residual pockets of snow after a 4″ snowfall two days before.
I returned nine months later on a bright autumn day to do the Jellystone formations. There are two Park Blvd. turnouts—at Pet Rock and Roadside Rock—along with a third, fairly substantial parking area with restroom facilities at the Lost Horse Valley Road junction found on your right (see map).
2D ♦ Jellystone, Brian’s Crag and Pet Rock
Three climbing routes attract bored climbers to Pet Rock, a small and “fairly forgettable formation” in the opinion of Randy Vogel, midway between Voice’s Crag and Lizard’s Hangout. They are on the west face, away from the road: “Excitable Boy,” “Pet Project,” and “She’s So Unusual.” Another more photographically interesting pile, lies about 90 yards to the southwest of Pet Rock and is named Jellystone. Several routes are on the east and west faces: “Yogi,” “Boo Boo,” “Mr. Ranger Sir,” “Smarter than the Average Ranger,” and “The Bear Necessities,” being among them. Further along the obvious path lies Brian’s Crag.
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2D ♦ Lizard’s Hangout, Mel’s Diner, Roadside Rock
“Another convenient crag right off the road, with many easy climbs and easily rigged torpedoes”—explains Miramontes when describing Lizard’s Hangout.
I don’t know about ‘rigged torpedoes,’ but I am here to tell you that the named climbs are definitely thought-provoking. There are 16 of them if you can believe it for such a small boulder, with a few being “Poodle Lizard,” “Alligator Lizard,” “Wally Gator,” “Lizard in Bondage,” “Chicken Lizard,” “Lizard Taylor,” “Off to See the Lizard,” and “Komodo Dragon Direct.”
Mel’s Diner squats about 250 yards southwest from Park Blvd. An amorphous blob like a rock hill amoeba it is actually rather large. Look for the clean block wall with two prominent tiers toward the right side. This is where the climbers head. Mel’s Diner also has an extension at its west end around back known as Bush Dome (visible on the right from this shot taken near Jellystone).
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3D Anaglyph Gallery
Be my guest and download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you wish. 3D Anaglyph Slideshow follows.
3D Anaglyph Slideshow
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3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery
Suitable for 3D TV viewing. Half Side-by-Sides avoid the minor Anaglyph anomalies that can occur. Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.
It is with great pleasure I bring you Jellystone and the other seemingly off-beat rock piles at the north end of Lost Horse Valley. Few people have ever seen the beauty of this landscape captured in 3D photos. I hope that you enjoy them.
Temple City, California
Posted 2016 Jan 16
Updated 2017 Nov 6