|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 Canyon Road, 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, 1936.
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 our lunch.
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 live in.
A White-tailed Antelope Squirrel having lunch
View from Keys Point
Colourful Palm Springs
Thanks again for stopping by!