Monday, February 2, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park


A new state for the GDB! Can you guess which one?


No?  Well, here’s a bigger hint ….


I’m spending a few days here at Joshua Tree NP on the south side of this immense 790,636 acre wilderness – slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island.

This is the spot on the planet where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet and it is isolated.  The elevation – at about 3,000 ft. – caught me by surprise. 

I slid into a sweet BLM spot about a mile off I-10, giving me much-needed Wi-Fi, cell service, and superb 360-degree views.  Thanks to Jeanne for the co-ordinates!  


There are only a few rigs here as Cottonwood Campground is only 3 miles away, inside the Park proper.

I was talking to John close to sunset last night and witnessed the cliffs opposite the setting sun light up. Quite literally, as seen in this unedited pic.


See, dear, now you know why I gasped.  And then followed it with squealing. 
  
After one of the quietest nights I’ve ever experienced, I made it to the Visitor Center in time for a Ranger Talk.  


The focus was desert plant life and its various practical values.  For example, when you find yourself wandering the desert without water, the Barrel Cactus will provide abundance (if you can manage to open it up like a coconut).  Peculiar to this region, the spines are a lovely bright pink.


 Scientists have found no reason why nature created the Cholla.  Apparently, its sole purpose is to inflict a pain that will linger.  We all agree it’s quite attractive though.   



Later, I hiked up to Mastodon Peak.  




Along the way, I take the opportunity to do my Neil Armstrong impression.



There was promise of some rock-scrambling, which sounded like fun.  But that only occurred near the peak. 


The seemingly iron-clad rule about having an audience around when one looks one’s most ungraceful and asinine was broken this day; the trail was almost deserted.  So, for a summiting photo, this will have to do.


From the top, you can see the Salton Sea some 12 miles distant.  


As happens on my travels, this thought is in the back of mind: my femur could snap like a twig quicker than you can say “out-of-network health care".  

But it doesn't and it didn't! 

BTW, the weather is perfect – full sun, high 60’s.  And my solar panel is doing its miraculous thing.

6 comments:

  1. Amazing!! The desert is just beautiful in such a different way. We will definitely have to experience it one day!!!

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  2. We must have driven right past you yesterday..our destination was Cottonwood or BLM next to Box Canyon RD...but a mini crisis at home kept us heading for the city. Lovely post!

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  3. Lovely! I enjoyed my visit there last month. If you have time 49 Palm oasis is a neat hike if you've never seen an oasis in its natural state. Enjoy CA!

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  4. HA! You had me spurting my tea with that femur line. Love Joshua Tree. Such a pretty spot!
    Nina

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  5. Such a beautiful area - I love it when the mountains light up like that. Have fun at Joshua Tree! :)

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  6. Can I just say I'm thrilled I found your blog! I love your writing style, humor and am so enjoying your travels and all the photos. Increasing my list of places I want to see!

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