Boulder Park Mystery Caves

From Roadside

The real attraction at the Desert View Tower is Boulder Park, a jumble of rocks weathered by wind into caves and craggy walkways. Kids adore this area, and scramble with sugared-beverage abandon up the switchback path over friendly-looking precipices and outcroppings. The Depression-era carvings strung along the path are a bonus: animals, faces, and folk creatures inspired by the natural shapes in the rocks. Out-of-work engineer W.T. Ratcliffe sculpted the quartz granite boulders without any particular theme in mind — supposedly for a dollar a day and a jug of wine — but he likely knew kids would love the rocky maze. The carvings and tower are registered as an official California Historical Landmark (#939). We watch as a half dozen children — who met just five minutes earlier but now seem like lifelong climbing buddies — scale the summit. Knuckles scrape on craggy escarpments, heads conk on low ceilinged passages. At the top of the rocks the view is funny, providing a vantage almost as high as Desert View Tower. Soon the area’s famous high winds kick in. Children lose their confidence and start wailing for parental rescue teams….
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