JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

From Mary’s desk:
I once heard Joshua Tree described as a bunch of rocks and cactus. And it is. Wouldn’t I like to have one of these spectacular rock formations in my back yard to wake up to each morning?  The rocks gradually turned from grayish brown to golden as the sun rose around the bowl of rocks we settled in. We arrived at night and the stars were set crystals.  Obviously a special place, before we ever ventured out to see cactus in bloom and the desert wildflowers.

Once fully lit, the rocks were a child’s playground, and since we just happened to have children with us, know that this was a “mountain climbing” adventure of great beauty and adventure. We big kids enjoyed the easy climbs on giant granite too.

Above, young adults who may want to challenge a mountain some day, find friendly, shear rock faces a great place to practice with mountain climbing equipment. They were having a great time and we watched them get over the top. Safe to say, this is a rock climbing heaven.

Joshua trees live in a narrow band and are forever protected from development where housing is mowing them down on private lands. Not a true tree, they wait for a wet year, like their cactus cousins, to bloom. This was one of those years where the odd looking fibrous “tree” gave quite a show of football sized blooms.

We drove to areas of the park that had stands of Joshua, Cholla and other desert beauties also in bloom with the unusually wet weather. And, we hiked to an oasis created by a fissure in the rocks. We weren’t disappointed. On the way home we made a distant stop near Antelope Valley to see the poppy preserve. More on the hike, and desert wildflowers tomorrow. If you’re going, the parks website link follows.

http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm  (I couldn’t get this link to work, sorry.)

For my web album of pictures click the link below:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/40810JoshaTreeNatPkl#

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