national parking, Travel

Joshua Tree National Park in January

in the desert

Last week, my sister came to California with me to help me settle back into the new place and to help me out with the errandy type things that always accompany a move, and which are much more easily accomplished with two people. Of course we also did some fun sight seeing (which is also better with two people) and one of the places we went was Joshua Tree National Park. We’ve been trying to get to as many national parks as possible, if you recall, and this was our first DESERT.

We had gone to Disneyland the day before, but that morning it was raining and we decided that rather than spend a second day at Disney in the rain, we’d go to see a damp desert. How often do you get to see one of those? By the time we got there (it was a good bit of driving), the rain had cleared, but it left everything softened, less dusty, and really colorful.

DSC_8952

One of our first stops was for a short hike to some Native American petroglyphs. Someone had painted over them, which was a shame because you can’t see their original form, but it was still very cool that they are visible.

The Joshua Trees themselves are bizarre looking, turning in all different directions, with seemingly harry trunks and strange, spiked green balls of leaves. They vary in size and shape, and seem surreal in the landscape, inserted as an afterthought.

Joshua trees

There are also huge piles of boulders and of small rocks. The scale is hard to imagine, but sometimes there are simply huge, smooth rock faces, worn into turrets and towers by the wind, and sometimes there are mountains made of what look like bits of loose stone.

Rock formations

It was chilly out, being January, despite how dry everything was. Apparently it won’t get warm again until March, when all of the wildflowers start blooming and people come to camp and watch the sunsets and all of that. It might be nice to go back then.

The last thing I’ll show you is the view we got of the San Andreas Fault, right before sunset.

San Andreas Fault

It’s hard to see, but it’s the hazy dark line in the middle of the lighter haze. Very pretty view, though. As the sun set, it kept getting colder. We drove to the other major park entrance in the section we were visiting, and saw an oasis. It looked much like the rest of the park, except with palm trees in a very dense, central area. All in all, a very cool day trip.

So that was our first visit to a desert. You can see the rest of the photos here.

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