Yesterday we made a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Since the Republicans shut down the government at midnight last night it would seem our timing was impeccable! In addition, a cold front has moved in and I can see from our RV park that there’s snow in them thar hills now!
Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we could learn about the park, pick up a map/brochure (more on that later) and, of course buy t-shirts and lunch. As we headed up the 3 miles to the actual park entrance, I was amazed at how many homes were built there…all the way to the fence line! They were all on very large pieces of property (and some were pretty fancy) but they are sure a long way from a grocery store or gas station!
The park (and I use the term very loosely) is quite large and encompasses part of two deserts – the Colorado and the Mojave. Since we were going to a “desert” I dressed in shorts, tank top & flip flops. Not having paid attention to the elevation (which is 5,000+ ft.) I shivered every time we got out of the car to look around and take photos!
The main attraction, of course, is the Joshua Trees. There are millions of them along with lots of other stickery things. One of the things we learned at the Visitor Center was that in addition to several bands of Native Americans who lived there, a number of white guys thought it would be a great place to start ranches. Huh. To each his own, but given the monumental number of cacti and other prickly vegetation, I can’t imagine what riding a horse through there would be like. Didn’t see a lot of edibles for cattle, either.
Rocks are pretty impressive in this park as well. It is easy to see why climbers love to go there. Boulders of all sorts of shapes and sizes that look like they’ve been stacked by giants.
Although this desolate place isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, it does have a primitive, forbidding solitude that is quite beautiful.
|Snoopy on his doghouse?|
The brochure includes quite a lot of information about the flora and fauna as well as a number of the points of interest. There is also a stern warning that “People have died here from preventable accidents.” Some of the many safety tips are: “Stay away from abandoned mines.”, “Cell phone coverage is poor throughout the park.”, “Watch where you put your hand and feet, especially in Spring and Summer when snakes are active.” All good information to prevent reduce the number of Darwin Award candidates. Still…there are many things we do in life that can kill us. Not the least of which is sailing a “small” boat on the open ocean. Touche’