Orchids, Big Rock and Crystal Mountain

Trip Start Dec 27, 2009
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Trip End Apr 20, 2010


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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, April 2, 2010

Todays travel time was short.  We bypassed the busyness of Palm Springs and area and heading into the mountains along hwy 62.  We settled into our campground where we will stay for Easter weekend - one of the few times we book ahead.  Although it is cloudy we decide to explore the area and start by heading north to Landers to find the Gubler Orchids.  What a show that was!  The guide was informative about the culture of orchids and pointed out many unique features of varieties that the casual observer would miss.  She even pointed out the vanilla plant that she had pollinated at noon, the only time that pollination can occur.  The site had originally been used to grow hothouse tomatoes but was later adapted for the growing of orchids, one of the last things you would expect to find in the desert.

When leaving the plant we turned left, rather than right to return to the campsite.  We had spotted some interesting buildings further down the road and decided to investigate.  Thus another of our adventures was to unfold!  It turned out to be George Van Tassels Integratron Rejuvenation Center.  The link I have provided gives interesting details as the significance of the Big Rock and the creator of the buildings that caught our eye!   As we drove past the gate I noticed someone inside on a quad and since the pamphlet holder was empty went to the gate to ask some questions.  He provided the basic info found on the plaque that I photographed, but it wasn't until I did a web search that I fully realized the significance of the site.  What caught my attention though was the conversation that happened as I was talking - a passerby stopped to ask directions to the Big Rock. The Big Rock???  The Crystal Mountain???  Sounded interesting!  So off we went!

The roads were sand and rough - thank heavens for 4-wheel drive although we didn't need to use it!  We were headed into the desert near Goat Mountain that reminded me of Ayr's Rock in Australia.  At the foot of nearer mountains we found an number of Boon-dockers camping in anything from tent trailers to large 5-wheels.  Some were there for the touring on quads and sand buggies, others just for the hiking and climbing.  We even met a large motor home heading in as we left the area.  Not sure I would want to take our rig in, especially when it is threatening rain!   The signs to Big Rock were small and homemade but kept us on the trail and after several stops where we wondered if we had arrived, we eventually reached 'the' Big Rock.

We were told that the energy could be felt.  We at least were in awe!  Our first thought was that vandals had lit fires under the rock to make it crack - I wonder???   The remains of the buildings located here mid 20th century were evident in the concrete pads and we didn't know to look for an entrance to the cave site but I expect it was at the pad on the 'back' side of the rock facing crystal mountain.

The crystal mountain was another experience!  This cone shaped hill, within sight of the rock, seems to be made entirely of quartz and really does look like crystal when reflecting sunlight.  We climbed the hill so that we could say that we had!  Then back to the great vista views of Yucca Valley that can be scene as you travel south on hwy 247. 
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