Hiked Friday, December 18. After finishing the Contact Mine hike,
it was getting pretty late, and I determined that the only reasonable hike I could manage in the time remaining would be Ryan Mountain. I've hiked this trail many times, and many of those times as sunset approached. Nice view over the desert on this one, and the trail's wide and easy enough, as well as short enough, that you can come down after sunset and still make it to the car safely.
This trail begins roughly midway between the North and West Entrances. It's also right off the pavement, so there is no off-pavement driving involved, either. It's just sort of on the way to where you'd be going, anyway.
Started around 3:30pm. Sunset was around 4:30pm. So the shadows were already getting long as I began. Lots of puffy contrails to complement the high cirrus clouds, white against a light blue background.
There were probably less than a dozen hikers heading down as I headed up. And, sort of as I expected, there was no one at the top when I got there. The sun set within minutes of my reaching the top. I took a number of photos of the setting sun, the clouds, and the Joshua Tree atop the mountain, then headed back down.
Pretty dark by the time I reached the bottom. The darkness was exaggerated by the fact I was also wearing my prescription sunglasses. I do that a lot.
Roughly three miles round trip. Altitude gain is given as 1070 feet, but, honestly, it seems like less. Peaks given as 5461 which is low enough for me that altitude is not too big of an issue.
Because of the short distance involved, you never really escape the road noise, and shouting people can sometimes be heard from atop the mountain. But, in between, it's just the sound of the wind. Nice little hike to end any day in Joshua Tree.
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