I left Palm Springs before lunch so I could make it to the Vasquez Rocks – north of Hollywood – in the mid afternoon. I was a little concerned that TomTom mentioned the roads were listed as “HOV”. The last time it has said that, I had a white knuckled drive up the narrow streets of Hollywood, looking for the sign. However, the trip to Vasquez Rocks was uneventful. The park is a couple of miles off route 14. I just followed the signs. The roads in the park itself were gravel, but well maintained. I didn’t have any problems (I was driving a rental car, so I wouldn’t have cared in any case). The main parking lot was about half a mile into the park, I wound around and went down a short embankment and – there I was.
You may not have heard of Vasquez Rocks, but you might have seen it on television, especially if you are a science fiction fan. I stepped out of the car and found myself in front of the same rock face that Captain Kirk climbed to escape the Gorn in Star Trek. I thought I would give the climb a shot and I have to give William Shatner credit. The incline is about sixty degrees. It was quite an effort to climb for me (and I wasn’t wearing a velour uniform). I almost climbed to the top, but I couldn’t figure out how to scale the last jagged tooth of rock. It was almost ten feet straight up.
Still, the view from the second tier was pretty good. I was standing where Captain Kirk had rolled a boulder down on his adversary. The shelf of rock was maybe eight feet wide. It was pretty windy up there and a sheer drop of a sixty feet or so. I stayed near the vertical wall. Marble sized bits of quartz were locked in a natural cement. The rock was pocked from water erosion and smoothed into odd organic looking shapes from the wind. I inspected it closely as I didn’t have any desire to recreate the death of Bill and Ted in Bogus Journey.