17 October 2009

Joshua Tree National Park

A crew of folk, mostly international students, were going off to Joshua Tree to look about the place and I managed to go along with them. Once there, we quickly found a Joshua Tree to marvel at. Also some other plant life.

A particularly large Joshua tree.
A very large specimen of Joshua tree, which is some sort of yucca and not a tree at all.

Cholla cactus, a bit brown.
A funny little tree with some of the same ideas on shape as the Joshua tree but we found out later is a cholla cactus.

More normal sized Joshua trees.
We also saw some Joshua trees of the more normal size.

The shattered woody fallen trunk of a Joshua tree.
Surprisingly, even though they are not trees, they have woody insides and stuff that looks rather like bark. It really looks more like a tree after it's fallen over.

After the first look at the funny plants, we went off for a short loop hike and some lunching in Hidden Valley. It was actually supposed to just be lunching, so some of us weren't really set for the walk in shoes or equipment. After that, we went on a longer hike up to Lost Horse Mine. We finished that in plenty of time to get up to a popular place for watching the sunset, Keys View.

We weren't able to find any camping inside of the park, but not too far away we were able to stay at a private campground. It was a dreadful little place with rectangles marked out for sites and few trees and all that is typical of private camp sites. Even the just a little too much traffic on the road that's just a little too nearby.

Some people were wanting to get up to an oasis for dawn and most were feeling we'd never get up there in time as we would probably have to get up by 4AM, and then we would all be grumpy and tired for the second day and that wouldn't do. The group wanting to sleep in won out, so we had a somewhat leisurely morning before heading out to 49 Palms Oasis. Luckily, we got to see a few of the animals even though were weren't out hiking at oh-dark-thirty, so everyone won. Afterwards, we stopped by the Cholla Cactus Garden, which has a little loop trail through it. We finished off with a hike from Cottonwood spring before heading back.

Joshua's attractions other than the funny trees seem to be the rocks, like these that surrounded us at our lunch spot after the first oasis on the second day.

campsite among the rocks
A campsite in Joshua Tree and the rocks that surround it.

lunching spot
A spot for eating, in among the rocks with a spot out of the wind.

more rocks
More rocks to marvel at the shapes of.

©2009,2010 Valerie Norton
Posted 5 February 2010

No comments: