Monday, March 9, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park - California

The Joshua Tree National Park is amazingly large, over 794,000 acres, of which three-quarters is designated as wilderness. This means no roads, no human involvement. From the visitor center on the south end to one of the two visitor centers on the north end is almost 60 miles. The park has two distinct desert areas – the Colorado Desert and the Mohave Desert.  I think the Mohave Desert is more interesting because this is where the Joshua Trees reside, as well as piles of gigantic rocks. There are multiple roads through the park as well as multiple campgrounds. In order to fuel up, you must go outside the park at least 15 miles.

The area is so vast that even though they have the Bighorn Sheep here, I didn't get to see any of them. There are also mountain lions which I didn't see, haven't seen one in the wild yet. Because this area lies near the San Andreas Fault, and there are smaller fault areas within the park, where there are a few oases with stands of palm trees. Most of the park is over 3,000 feet in elevation, making the temperatures colder than at sea level. Because of this, most of the cacti weren't blooming yet, although the some ocotillo were just starting. The Joshua Tree was still blooming, as seen in the photo below.

The roads winding through the park were fun to drive, lots of twisting, hilly roads. And of course, the scenery was spectacular.

If you look closely at the photo below, look directly over the small Joshua Tree in the middle to see a distant snow-covered peak. Since the sun is so hot here, even though the temperature may have been low 70s, it was warm that day. I just love seeing those snow-covered mountains, mostly being happy I'm not in snow!

I did a few hikes through the area, one to the old gold mine, The Wall Street Stamp Mill. Unfortunately, no access to the mine is available for safety reasons, and by the photo below, you can tell that someone has already found the treasure........

Below is some of the mine equipment that looks in great shape for being in the desert for decades.  Of course, someone has boarded up the mine opening.

A hike through the desert just isn't complete without coming across the remains of an old automobile, and I found a couple on that hike.
The one below had the complete engine, but the other one in the above photo was missing the engine. Surprisingly enough, after decades in the desert, the one with the engine had bolts on the heads that were still shiny. They must have been some pretty good stainless steel. It also had aluminum for part of the body work and that was not corroded or damaged, the paint had just been removed. Even the headlight housing was still shiny and reflective. They just don't make them like that anymore.


This area has lots of drainage areas for water to come down from the mountains, they're called arroyos, ditches, or washes.  Along the main roads in California, all the ditches are labeled with names and numbers.  The one in the following photo was in the park and takes the cake for names - it should have been chocolate cake or apple pie instead of.........


I enjoyed the park, but after a long weekend there, it was time to move on.  I'm in Blythe now, headed to Quartzsite in Arizona in a couple days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment