While Joshua Tree National Park in California is best know for its Joshua trees (see above), it's a great desert environment full of opportunity for exploration. The park is very popular with rock climbers and hikers during the cooler winter months, although it gets unbearably hot in the summer.
One of the park's more popular hikes takes you to the remains of the "Wall Street Mill". The hike is level, about 3-4 miles round trip depending on which route you take and how much you wander around. On a pleasant day, it's a beautiful place to go for a stroll and do a little exploration
This mill was a gold ore crushing facility that used two-stamp machinery. It closed in the 1960s, but you can still hike to the old rusty mill building and take a look around. The building is framed with heavy timber and built on a downward slope to take advantage of gravity. The roof and some of the outside walls are covered with corrugated sheet metal. At the top of the building a wooden ramp supports the track of an ore tramway that carried rock from trucks to the two-stamp mill. The mill was built by Bill Keys, a local rancher and miner, and said to be a "colorful" character.
Around the mill there was a small community -- people who worked in the mill and ore extraction process. You find a few remnants of their existence, but especially catching our attention were several old trucks -- rusty, abandoned and neglected, just like the mill. They certainly have lots of character and are handsome in their own way. Believe it or not, these rusty vehicles are collectible to someone who has the money and time to restore them.