Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is starkly beautiful and amazing. The park is aptly named because Joshua Trees cover the landscape and are a unique looking tree. They are flowering now and look kind of like a huge cone shaped hyacinth. There were many other cacti and some wildflowers. (The wildflowers bloom more in the Colorado Desert and we were only in the Mojave Desert today. We will drive into the Colorado Desert Thursday) There are huge rock formations all around and the mountains are in the background. Some of the higher peaks still have snow. There is a peacefulness about the park and the rough, spottily green terrain is appealing in contrast to Wisconsin snow. At 70+ degrees, bright blue skies, and slight breeze it is a welcome respite from winter.

The cacti are sharp, by the way. I had flip flops on when we made our first stop to look around in the park and somehow got a dried piece of cactus stuck in my heel. Yow! Fortunalty I have some callouses on my heel but it still hurt. (I changed into tennis shoes then) Patrick then stepped on a live cactus but was wearing tennis shoes. Needles did lodge in the bottom of his shoes.

We didn't see much wildlife: crows, lizards, duck (Barker Dam area), and some kind of little bird that happily chirped. We're hoping to see a jackrabbit and roadrunner at the very least.

Ann was quite the sport and walked a 1.5 mile loop at Joshua Tree. It wasn't a straight flat path but involved climbing some rocks. She did well and is feeling fine. She took 400 pictures today for a photo essay she is doing for a class assignment. Her eye for unusual shots is amazing and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her assignment.

There is a huge wind farm on the outskirts of Palm Springs. It is very science fiction-esque. There are probably a thousand of the devices, most huge but some smaller ones. I suppose from one point of view they mar the landscape but on the other hand they do provide a great deal of energy. Whereas there is only a small area on Highway 41 South to Milwaukee that has these windmills, what we saw today may be a glimpse into the energy future.

Dinner was in downtown Palm Springs tonight....a very nice, long road of shops and restaurants. Most of the restaurants have outdoor dining, and we ate outside at a place called Kaiser's. Patrick was blown away by the prices but they were pretty much on par with California decent dining costs; and the food was very good. Again, the weather was still perfect and at 8:00p.m. we were comfortable sitting outside PLUS there were no bugs.

I forgot my camera at home so borrowed one of Ann's today. I'll post pictures when back home.

Tomorrow is going back downtown to browse the shops and then come back to sit by the pool.

1 comment:

donnie said...

Is it not so wonderful to be in a warm climante?! I never want to go back home, I've worn flip flips the entire time I've been in Texas!