Beware “The Creature”
Trek dates: 2013 Feb 22
VISITORS TO SOUTH WONDERLAND and Wonderland Valley enter through the north-east corner of Queen Valley. A small dirt lot with restroom facilities offers ample parking.
← The trail passes the ruins of a pink building (once owned by Signe Ohlson, d.1986 at age 100), and sometimes referred to as “Wonderland Ranch” or more humorously as “Uncle Willie’s Health Food Store.” Signe did, in fact, run an herb and health food store in Joshua Tree at the time she was living here. Painted pink, the remains of her house are swiftly crumbling back to dust. (Note: Signe Ohlson’s house residue will be featured under the Queen Valley section of this website as “Uncle Willie’s Health Food Store.” Apologies to Signe’s ghost. Hopefully she will find today’s humor amusing, but will still endeavor to frighten hikers who traipse all over her beloved property!)
Once in the main wash the trail leads 800 yards north to where Wonderland Valley begins. The path is easy to follow. Almost immediately there comes an old water catchment dam, which you will have to bypass. Now and then the path will leave the wash and travel a few yards to either side due to fallen rocks or thick brush. →
The only scrambling you may encounter is this flat, easy to navigate stretch of about 75-100 feet along the right side of the wash. Follow the well-worn footsteps of previous hikers and you cannot miss it.
Shortly after you pass The Creature (see 3D Anaglyphs below), the trail enters Wonderland Valley proper where you will be flanked by Cuddlebone Dome, on the right and Foolproof Tower, left. Beyond lie the two dominant granite blocks in this part of the South Wonderland, the Astro Domes and Punk Rock.
Hikers who plan on exploring further should make a mental reference in order to find your way back to the main wash and parking lot. Leaving Wonderland Valley, aim in the general direction of (first) the “Astro Domes,” and then pass under the left side of “Foolproof Tower” recognized by its prominent roof on the top—ahead lies the wash you are looking for.
Lining either side of this narrow passage into the Wonderland of Rocks are several climbs that aficionados of the sport have named as follows: Ash Gordon, Sergeant Rock, Previously Unreleased Material, Bankrupt Wall, and Fire Me a Burger.
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3D Anaglyph The Creature
Be my guest and download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you wish. Note: 3D H-SBS images should only be saved if you have access to a 3D TV.
Just prior to entering Wonderland Valley proper, look on your right for this unusual erosional remnant known to climbers by one of two sobriquets, The Creature or (less often) The Walrus. From this north-facing view where I am framing it the rock looks more like a Creature. Climbers begin inside the scooped-out opening, putting their foot in the eye-hole to leverage up and around to the top. Like a boy confronting a 350ft redwood tree, it just has to be climbed! (Note: the odd-looking gentleman accompanying me on this 2013 hike is none other than Dennis Nowicki, who used to sing in his Whittier, California church choir and now teaches English to Japanese students in Tokyo. A more forceful image of him appears at the bottom of the page.)
3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery
(H-SBS images can be viewed on a 3D-capable TV)
Thank you for visiting Wonderland Valley Approach. There is much more to find in the other Galleries, linked to from the Main Index.
John Murbach a.k.a. dur Murbachi
Posted 2015 Jul 16
Updated 2016 May 14