I recently posted about our trip to the Palm Springs area...
for a golf tournament.
We've been making this trip for years. And, for years I've been saying we need to go see
Joshua Tree National Park.
This year, we drove out. Went first to the Grand Canyon, and then swung by
Joshua Tree, on our way to Indian Wells.
It was certainly worth the trip. In fact, I'd like to go back to see more of the park.
There are forests of these 'trees'.
The Joshua Tree is actually a yucca...Yucca brevifolia. It got it's name from
Mormon settlers who came across this part of the Mohave desert, back in the 1800s.
They were reminded of the Biblical story of Joshua reaching up to the sky in prayer.
These trees grow up to 49 feet high. They have prickly foliage and a bark
that makes it actually look like a tree.
There are no age rings in this tree, though.
I like to do a lot of research before we go on any trip.
I knew we wouldn't have a long time here, so I wanted to see the best places.
Reviewers said that you shouldn't miss Keys View.
You can see all the way across Coachella Valley...where we were headed.
When we stopped at the welcome station, the ranger told us a good place to see is
Barker Dam. It's a dam built around 1900 to hold water for cattle and mining.
They did some gold mining here.
I'm glad we stopped here. It's quite interesting.
The slightly more than one mile trail winds through these amazing boulders.
I like rocks. And this place is a rock lover's delight.
Huge piles of rocks.
How amazing what nature does.
The dam is at the back turn.
A mixture of concrete and stones.
The ranger told us that Big Horn Sheep come here to graze.
We weren't lucky enough to see any.
There's an old...and, interesting...water trough here.
At least, I think that's what it is.
The view from here is pretty good, too.
Joshua Trees are not the only things growing here.
The trail goes through this little grove of oaks. It's nice and shady and cool here.
Maybe because this is in a desert, the leaves on this oak are very small.
It's hard to tell here, but the leaves are just a bit larger than a quarter.
There are lots of these less-than-friendly looking cacti.
And, taller ones. I think this might be a Teddybear Cholla.
And, this shrub was really nice. Look at that great bark.
Of course, I didn't take a photo of the sign beside it.
I think I remember the name being some kind of 'apple'.
The signs here gave common names....when there were signs.
If they're going to bother, they need to have the botanical names, too.
As you can tell, we weren't the only ones along this trail.
It was a bit like walking on a beach. Hard walking through the sand.
The area ahead here looked almost like a 'landscaped' patio area.
Too bad I forgot to take a closer photo. Nature is a pretty good landscaper.
There are some petroglyphs from the Cahuilla people.
Native peoples lived here. There is a natural spring in the park...Mara Oasis..where they got their water.
The plants provided food for them, and for animals.
The boulders give some shelter here, as well.
Those are some big rocks!
Those piles of rocks were one time mountains. Erosion over many years, left only the boulders.
As if some giants dumped truckloads of rocks.
President Franklin Roosevelt named this a National Monument in 1936.
It was renamed a National Park, in 1994.
Can you tell I was impressed by this place?
We ran out of time, so we didn't get to see a lot of things.
There's an old ranch, a mining site, the oasis, an area known as the
Cholla Cactus Garden...and on and on.
We have to go back.
The main entrances are along Hwy.62, just north of Palm Springs.
We went in at the west entrance, in the city of Joshua Tree.
There's an east entrance, in Twentynine Palms.
And, you can drive all the way through the park, down to I-10.
It's worth the trip.
Have a Great Weekend...