With no one coming to work on the rig yesterday, I left early for the almost 100 mile drive to Joshua Tree National Park. (Actually had to get this pic on the way out) Decided to leave Emma at home since dogs can’t be on any of the trails, and you can’t even leave them in your car unattended to dash into the visitors center.
First stop was at the VC in the town of Joshua Tree. This VC is five miles from the entrance to the park. For a National Park, I was not impressed by this VC. It’s very small, and very few exhibits. I sat down on a bench to listen to the park movie, and had a hard time of it. It’s not in a separate room, and is on a small TV screen. I was sure glad there were subtitles because the noise from the little nature store and desk was loud! I was out of there in 15 minutes.
As I entered the park, this was my first view of the rocks and Joshua trees. Thankfully there are a lot of pullout spots along the road. I was tailgated like crazy for most of my drive in the park. If you’re visiting a national park, what’s the rush for Pete’s sake?
I was hoping to see the trees in bloom while here. In most cases, I was a bit too late. Two weeks earlier probably would have been better, but I did find a few still blooming.
Those flowers at the end of the arms can only be pollinated by one kind of moth that gets inside and lays its eggs in the flower. As the eggs hatch and leave, they disperse the seeds somehow. I found that most interesting.
I’ve seen a lot of pictures of Joshua Trees, but for some reason I thought they would be like a cactus. Kind of like saguaros with yuccas on the end of their arms. I was sure wrong about that. As you can see from this dead Joshua tree, they are solid wood inside just like an oak or maple.
I wasn’t in the park too long before it was time for my lunch. The VC might not be much, but there are quite a few beautiful picnic areas. Do you see that black dot a bit above the lower left hand corner of the photo? It’s a raven. It stalked the area the whole time I was eating. I’m afraid it was out of luck, as I left no crumbs behind.
Next stop was Keys View Overlook. It’s at an elevation of 5,185’ and has a wonderful view of the valley with mountains on the other side. Due to the haze from air pollution, I couldn’t find the San Andrea fault. Of course, I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for.
Looking the other direction, it was possible to just see the Salton Sea in the distance. I think the sign said it was 35 miles away, as the crow flies.
As I meandered along, I came to the Jumbo Rocks area. They certainly are jumbo sized. If you squint your eyes, you may be able to find three guys getting ready to climb these rocks. They’re at the bottom just about dead center. One has on a red shirt. That’s sure not anything I’m going to try to do.
As I made my way south to the Cottonwood entrance, I stopped to take a short hike on the Cholla Cactus Garden trail. The park is at the confluence of two deserts… the Mohave desert has the Joshua trees, and the Colorado desert has the chollas.
It was a long day of driving, and I didn’t get back to the rig until 5:30. I just barely scratched the surface of everything to see and do in this national park. I can just imagine Sherry and David spending at least two weeks here. However, if I get a site at Jojoba, I’ll be sure to return.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy