why i HATE trip reports

Okay, I’m really pissed off.

I have pontificated here many times about finding and keeping secret places secret. In that article I mentioned that one of the places I have hiked to many times and never, ever disclosed how to get there is Carey’s Castle in Joshua Tree National ParkIn that post I chastised a unethical author who included directions to this site in a trail guide. That author is an asshole. And worse than this author is the prick who posted GPS tracks to Carey’s Castle. Most hikers don’t have the skill to locate Carey’s Castle on their own, which is why directions to the site should never have been published – ever!

Carey’s Castle

On Monday of this week, Joshua Tree National Park closed the area containing Carey’s Castle and his abandoned mine.

Here is the story that was posted on KMIR TV’s website today:

Two sites in Joshua Tree National Park are being closed in the wake of several thefts in the past few months.


The National Park Service is doing an emergency temporary closure of two old mining sites in Joshua Tree, and it isn’t the first time…


Park officials tell us Carey’s Castle and El Sid Mine are both now temporarily closed.


They say recent news stories and social media postings increased traffic to those remote mine sites. [my emphasis – Nick]


“The unfortunate part of that is that there’s a certain amount of artifacts that have disappeared from both areas so we have enforced a closure,” said public information officer with Joshua Tree National Park, George Land.



I often post trip reports here. Usually just an overview of my trip. If you follow my blog, you know that I rarely provide detailed information about an area, because I don’t want to be the cause of additional traffic or damage to our natural resources. People often criticize me for posting these trip reports without information on how to get there, or even not disclosing where the area is. Too bad, I don’t care what others think.

The problem with many trip reports, trail guides, and magazine articles is they publish too much information and secluded, wonderful places are soon overrun with people who would never have been able to visit on their own. These authors enable people, who otherwise couldn’t do the hike, access to special places. And the results, like Carey’s Castle are often disastrous.

Some people with blogs, sometimes post too much information, not knowing or understanding the potential harm it can cause, resulting in unintentional consequences. Others, publish information as an income source, these people who earn a living writing about backpacking or hiking should know better.

I was planning on doing a backpacking trip next month near Carey’s Castle. It would not be a problem for me to skip the mine area, but what I don’t know yet is how much the closure will impact surrounding areas and access to the Park’s boundary and dirt roads.

If you are inclined to write a trip report to a delicate area that is sparsely used, please don’t provide detailed maps. And if you own a GPS unit, throw it away.

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