City of Rocks National Reserve
We made our way to CIty of Rocks National Reserve and camped, illegally, as it turns out, near a cattle trough with lots of dried-up poo beside it. We didn’t know we were illegal until the fourth day, when a diffident young ranger showed up (you know you are getting old when the rangers all look like children and inspire such thoughts as, 'isn't he adorable?') and said, “This is park property.” I looked at him interestedly, waiting for him to deliver the punchline, but no punchline came. He simply reiterated that we were camped on park property. After a few moments of staring into his earnest gaze, light began to dawn in my consciousness and I said, “So does that mean we’re not supposed to be here?” It turns out that that is exactly what it meant, but by that time we’d been camped four nights and we were ready to move on.
Although we were illegal, we had a lovely time and took three trike rides. I highly recommend City of Rocks. The LEGAL campsites are gorgeous, all scattered amongst the rocks. They cost money, but there was no signage, even at the pay station, to indicate how much.
A large number of my photos were so overexposed as to be unsalvageable :( I did get enough properly exposed photos to give you some idea of what the place looks like. The main feature of City of Rocks is....brace yourself.....rocks. I know! Who would've thought? Apparently the settlers coming through in their covered wagons on the California Trail found these rock formations quite ghostly, like an abandoned city. The photos of the most unusual formations were, of course, overexposed. They reminded me a bit of looking down on Yosemite from the back side.