Lesha, Raffi and I spent a long weekend in March exploring the Wonder Valley Jackrabbit Homestead. The weather conditions in March of this year was ideal; dry, with temperatures hovering in the low 80ºs mid day.
With Raffi's boots packed, plenty of water, snacks and our camera gear, we ventured out in the 4Runner. The four-wheel drive is put to good use as we crawled through unmarked sand and soft gravel trails to access more of the decidedly forlorn abodes.
This parched and seemingly isolated community lies just east of Joshua Tree National Park, and south of Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness Area. Before leaving for this destination, we prepped appropriately and did a deep dive in researching various landmarks.
We decided it would work out best to stay just outside the Wonder Valley perimeter. We stayed at the Motel 6 in 29 Palms. The homesteads are an easy reach – along Highway 62 and adjacent to Amboy Road. Taking shelter inside or camping within the properties wouldn't be advised. One picture-perfect property we arrived upon; a ruin intentionally scorched, collapsing frames of tinder, charred roof, and beaten appliances littered welcomed incoming gawkers. As we were excitedly unpacking the truck and gathering our gear, a man exited the interior to make his presence obvious. He was shirtless, soaked in soot, wielding a whip length garden hose in one hand and a cell phone in the other. We got the hint and scooted out of his sight. On this day, this abode wasn't vacant.