We entered the Park in the northwest end from the town of Joshua Tree (population 7400). We spent an hour in the Visitor Center in town before continuing on to the West Entrance Station. Entry fee (day or week) is $20. By 9:30 a.m. it was already 95F.
Joshua Trees are the typical plants of the Mojave Desert. They are giant yucca plants and not true trees. In most places the Joshua Trees were spread out enough that photos didn't really do justice to the odd prehistoric-like scenery. It would have been better to have a brief video as we drove past. But the photo below gives an idea of the 20 foot tall trees scattered about and standing above the otherwise knee-high gray scrub with the mountainous backdrop. Like well-spaced giant terracotta soldiers on the battlefield.
|Quail Springs picnic area|
|Leslie and Daniel|
|Black-throated Sparrow in Mojave Yucca.|
|Foreground plants, left to right: pinyon pine, unidentified yucca, dollarjoint pricklypear.|
This area had many interesting boulders. The scenery was constantly changing, but the players remained the same. It was all the same, yet all different--boulders and Joshua trees.
To Marlene, every boulder, no matter size or shape, somehow reminded her of an elephant, which delighted her to no end (she may have gotten too much sun). I refused to see any of her elephants, or anything else other than rocks, well, okay, except for this:
|Hidden Valley Campground. "Flattened Bunny Hill" or "Roadkill Rabbit Ridge" (not official names).|
Then we drove on and dropped elevation down into the Colorado desert and watched the temperature indicator steadily climb past 112F.
|Cholla Garden. Likely Silver Cholla foreground, most are Teddy Bear ("Jumping") Cholla.|
All in all, a very long, hot, but enjoyable last day of the visit for Marlene and I with Leslie and Daniel.