This is a short blog but the location and experience was so unique that I decided it deserved its own posting.
After visiting Joshua Tree NP with Dave, Chris, Meg, and Brad, I took them on an unannounced side trip to Giant Rock. Luckily Google Maps provided great directions even though we had to travel on a dirt path for 2 miles to reach the location; but the Subaru was up to the challenge.
As I expected, during the entire drive, there was significant bitching and complaining as well as demands to explain where I was bring them. However, when we finally arrived they quieted down and were impressed by Giant Rock although it took them awhile to admit it.
Giant Rock is a large freestanding boulder in the Mojave Desert directly adjacent to Landers, California, that covers 5,800 square feet of ground and is seven stories high. Giant Rock was purported to be the largest free standing boulder in the world until a large piece broke off in 2000.
While the rock has been a Native American spiritual site for thousands of years, the modern backstory of the boulder begins in the 1930s, when a German immigrant and miner named Frank Critzer met a pilot named George Van Tassel. The pair became fast friends and Van Tassel loaned Critzer 30 dollars to buy mining equipment. Critzer then dug out a 400-square-foot home for himself directly beneath the rock. Some locals thought he was crazy, but since he was known to point a shotgun at those who approached his underground home, no one inquired further. Unfortunately, Critzer’s German origin and radio antenna led to suspicions of his being a spy during World War II, and a police raid was made on his cavern. While the exact cause of Critzer’s death is still unknown, legend holds that when authorities attempted to extricate him by shooting tear gas canisters into his cave they accidentally ignited a small store of explosives (for mining) and Critzer was killed in the explosion.
Below Meg is trying to push the 'Giant Rock'.
In 1952, Tassel began holding meditation sessions in Critzer’s old home under Giant Rock. Here, Van Tassel believed he was receiving vital information from alien sources directing the construction of a fantastic machine. Van Tassel claimed to have even been transported to an alien spaceship, where he met a wise group of aliens known as the 'Council of Seven Lights'. He held popular UFO conventions known as the 'Giant Rock Spacecraft Conventions' on his property for over 20 years.
Below everyone is giving me the 'salute' for dragging them out here.
I loved bringing Dave and the kids to Giant Rock. It's another experience they'll laugh and enjoy talking about for years. It's the memories they will have from this adventure that makes it so enjoyable and rewarding for me. In the words of the Adam & Bernard, the creators of the awesome YouTube channel Steps of 2 Foreigners, "Remember to go out and create memories."
FYI: As a special surprise, Dave, Chris, Meg and Brad each gave me the 'middle finger salute' in this picture... see I told you they were creating memories.