26-Nov-2003 -- Traveling to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving by way of the Joshua Tree National Park allowed me to visit 34n-116w. My preparation included using National Geographic TOPO California which clearly showed the service road to the communications towers described in Ross Finlayson's visit.
Although the map annotated the road as "restricted" our plan was to minimize the hiking to this confluence - we still had a lot of driving ahead of us. We entered the park at the West Entrance Station, displaying our National Parks Pass got us in free. We were also handed a Park map and handout that described the construction delays on the roads. We encountered about a 20 minute delay on our way to the confluence where the road was being widened and repaved. The service road leading to the towers and confluence was easily found and we started up it.
After about a half mile of very nice road it led to a fenced compound where it appeared a majority of the service equipment for the park was stored as well as being a residence for park rangers. Noting that we could easily be locked inside the compound after passing through, we elected to turn around and start from the Belle Campground. We backtracked and found the campground surprisingly full.
I decided to hike out to this one alone due to the time constraints on our day. It was a quick 1 mile hike with a 600 foot gain in elevation - the majority occuring near the end. My eMap and RINO quickly settled and even agreed for a short while. Picture #1 is looking southeast down the valley. Picture #2 looks west towards the Belle Campground. Picture #3 shows my gps indications at the conflence. Picture #4 looks northeast and up towards the communication towers. It would have been an extrmemly short hike from there! Total round-trip time was just over an hour.