|Bob, Linda, Richard, Carolyn, Bea and myself….we
were all ready to leave. It was 8am and a fine day it was
for our trip to Joshua Tree National Park. I was the only
one who had been throughout the park before, and my passengers were eager to explore it.
From Holtville we went onto Hwy 111 until we reached
Mecca. We fumbled a bit around to find the
Box CanyonRoad, but finally our GPS-gal gave us
directions, The Box Canyon Rd runs up to the I-10
and via an overpass into Joshua Park.
Richard’s Senior Pass gave us free access and we
continued up through the park.
Joshua Tree’s nearly 800,000 acres were set aside to
protect the unique assembly of natural resources
brought together by the junction of three of California’s ecosystems. The Colorado Desert, a western extension
of the vast Sonoran Desert, occupies the southern and
eastern parts of the park. It is characterized by stands
of spike-like ocotillo plants and “jumping” cholla
cactus. The southern boundary of the Mojave Desert
reaches across the northern part of the park. It is the
habitat of the park’s namesake: the Joshua tree.
Extensive stands of this peculiar looking plant are
found in the western half of the park. Joshua Tree’s
third ecosystem is located in the western most part
of the park above 4,000 feet. The Little San Bernardino Mountains provide habitat for a community of
California juniper and pinyon pine.
The plant diversity of these three ecosystems is
matched by the animal diversity, including healthy herds
of desert bighorn and six species of rattlesnakes.
Joshua Tree National Park lies astride the Pacific flyway
of migratory birds, and is a rest stop for many. It was for
this unusual diversity of plants and animals that Joshua
Tree National Monument was set aside on August 10,
The park also encompasses some of the most interesting geologic features found in California’s desert areas.
Exposed granite monoliths and rugged canyons testify to
the tectonic and erosional forces that shaped this land.
Washes, playas, alluvial fans, bajadas, desert varnish,
igneous and metamorphic rocks interact to form a pattern
of stark beauty and ever changing complexity.
Everybody was amazed about the giant rock formations
and the abundance of Joshua Trees. We stopped at the
Jumbo Rocks Campground and found us a wind protected
spot where we all lined up like ducks in a row for having
While munching our sandwiches a White-tailed Antelope Squirrel came flying from across road to see whether
he could feed on our crumbs. A cute little desert critter
which has made profitable adjustments for survival.
After lunch we went to 5000ft elevation and the Keys
View Point, an excellent spot to have an overlook
across the Coachella Valley and the St.Andreas Fault
Line. High clouds had drifted over from the west and
made for a haze, but it was sure a great place to stop,
even though we were met with a cold storm wind
blowing straight up the slope and making it really
difficult to stand up against it. Due to the high
elevation, temperature in the park was about 20F less
than at the Holtville Hot Springs.
We left the park through “Hidden Valley and the North
Exit leading into Yucca Valley. On our way home we
cruised through Desert Hot Springs, and got through
Palm Springs, definitely a city we could not afford to
A White-tailed Antelope Squirrel having lunch
Joshua Tree flower
View from Keys Point
Colourful Palm Springs
Thanks again for stopping by!