2016 Feb 7 – Day 28 – California and Beyond – Joshua Tree NP

Day 28 – February 7 – Indio, CA to 29 Palms, CA

We were up, breakfasted, and on the road by 10 am.  From Indio to the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park is about 30 miles so it didn’t take us long to begin our explorations.

I have discovered that the third thing I like to take photos of, after animals and flowers, are textures and shapes, and Joshua tree abounded with them.  So; a warning is in order.  This blog will be short on text and long on photographs.

IMG_6525IMG_6526IMG_6527Before we got to the Park Entrance office we walked a little loop trail that had examples of many of the different plants found in the Colorado Desert.

IMG_6584 IMG_6528 IMG_6529 IMG_6530 IMG_6531 IMG_6532 IMG_6533 IMG_6534 IMG_6538 IMG_6539

IMG_6540 IMG_6541 IMG_6542 IMG_6545IMG_6544 IMG_6548 IMG_6549 IMG_6551 IMG_6552 IMG_6554 IMG_6555

Beavertail cactusIMG_6558 IMG_6559 IMG_6560 IMG_6561 IMG_6563 IMG_6570 IMG_6571 IMG_6572 IMG_6573 IMG_6575 IMG_6576                         We even saw a couple of little critters.

IMG_6581Mesquite Mistletoe, a parasite.IMG_6580 IMG_6586 IMG_6603 IMG_6602                                                      Birds eat the berries.

I was quite excited to see flowers on several of the plants.  I guess when the big rainstorm hit the coast they got some rain up here.  It never takes long for desert plants to sprout leaves or flowers after some rain.

IMG_6587 IMG_6588 IMG_6592 IMG_6593 IMG_6585Joshua Tree National Park covers a section of the Colorado Desert and a section of the Mojave Desert.  The Colorado Desert is a high plains desert and has quite different vegetation to the lower Mojave Desert.  When we got into the Mojave Desert part of the Park there were placards in front of different plants and cactus than we saw here.

Joshua tree is also home to rocks and huge boulders that come in all sorts of shapes.  The wind and rain have eroded them over the centuries.  They are a form of granite, not sandstone as many people think.  I took LOTS of photos of big boulders.

We only have one day in Joshua Tree so I didn’t even look at any of the longer trail routes and explanations in case I was tempted.  We did manage to hike all the short trails we wanted as well as drive up to the high point at Keys View.

IMG_6607 IMG_6611The Desert Fan Palm grows predominantly in the Colorado Desert and the Joshua Tree grows in the Mojave Desert.IMG_6613 IMG_6614 IMG_6616 IMG_6622 IMG_6627 Pinto Mountain.  You can hike to the top.  It takes about 6 hours and you must have orienteering skills. IMG_6633

IMG_6634 IMG_6636 IMG_6637 IMG_6641 IMG_6643 IMG_6644 IMG_6651 IMG_6655 IMG_6656 A heap of fallen off Cholla Cactus tops surround this bush. IMG_6661 IMG_6663 IMG_6666 IMG_6667 IMG_6668 IMG_6670

IMG_6671 IMG_6672IMG_6673 IMG_6674 IMG_6675 IMG_6676 IMG_6677 IMG_6683 IMG_6684 IMG_6686 IMG_6687

IMG_6688 IMG_6689 IMG_6691 IMG_6697 IMG_6702 IMG_6707 IMG_6708 IMG_6712We drove up to Keys View where, on a clear day you can see Palm Springs, Mt. San Jacinto, Mt. San Gorgonio, and the Salton Sea.  You can also very plainly see the San Andreas Fault running down the center.  It was very windy at the view point.  Reminded me of the day we were at Cape Spear in Newfoundland a couple of years ago.  You had to plant your feet to avoid being blown over.IMG_6715IMG_6717IMG_6728IMG_6730IMG_6731IMG_6733IMG_6746IMG_6747IMG_6749IMG_6750IMG_6751IMG_6752IMG_6753IMG_6756IMG_6769IMG_6776IMG_6777IMG_6778IMG_6781Joshua Tree National Park is considered one of the world’s best rock climbing sites.  If you look closely at the photo above you can see the girl scaling the rock face.

IMG_6782IMG_6784 The descent is quicker than the climb.IMG_6790There were climbers all over the place in this area of the park.IMG_6801IMG_6802 (2)IMG_6794IMG_6796IMG_6799The entrance to a 55 acre hidden valley  rumored to have been used by cattle rustlers to hide and re-brand the livestock before selling in out-of-state markets.  The loop trail took us all around the inside.IMG_6800IMG_6803IMG_6806IMG_6811Pinyon Pine – They don’t normally grown at this elevation but because of the extra moisture in the sheltered, shady valley there were several of them here.IMG_6813IMG_6814IMG_6818IMG_6819IMG_6821IMG_6822IMG_6825IMG_6826 More rock climbers.  One is scaling the left-side face of the rock and another is sitting on the top.IMG_6827 IMG_6838 IMG_6793IMG_6834 IMG_6836 IMG_6831 IMG_6839 IMG_6842 IMG_6843 IMG_6848 IMG_6851 The cattle trough they used to water the cattle.IMG_6853IMG_6856There are petroglyphs in the hollow of this huge rock.  Years ago some idiotic people painted them for better visibility.IMG_6858IMG_6860IMG_6861 The sun was setting as we made our way back to the parking lot, concluding a great day.IMG_6862 We drove the 13 miles out of the park, turned right and went another 20 miles or so to 29 Palms where we are spending the night.

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