Monday, March 24, 2008

Thursday in Joshua Tree

We took our second trip to Joshua Tree on Thursday. We drove straight to Keys Point from which the San Andreas Fault can be seen. The road to this lookout spot is lined with large Joshua Trees. Patrick commented that the scenery looked like something out of a Dr. Suess book and that was an apt description.

Then it was on to the Cactus Garden which is an area in the park covered by cholla cacti (pronounced choya). These cacti are also known as "jumping cholla" because the stems easily detach when brushed against and easily (and painfully) attach to the person who brushed against the plant. Both Ann and I actively interacted with these cacti and can attest to the hardiness of the needles! One stem attached to my tennis shoe, worked into the seam of the shoe and into my sock. In order to get rid of the needle I had to remove my shoe and sock, turn the sock inside out to remove the needle! Ann encountered a stem that attached itself to her toes that were housed in her walking boot. She was NOT happy!

The wildflowers bloom in the Colorado Desert portion of the park and seeing them was different from the picture in my head. I expected to see the desert floor carpeted with them when they were actually scattered about the desert. Most were yellow and delicate although purple flowers could be found.

The rock formations in the park are striking. When first entering at the west entrance there are hills of rocks piled about. Apparantly these were soil/vegetation covered hills but the rock hills are what's left after the soil eroded. The rocks became huge as we drove east through the park. In fact, in an example of understatement, one turnoff indicated "Jumbo Rocks."

There are campsites throughout the park and the appearance of these sites is so alien to those of us from Wisconsin. We are used to campsites being surrounded by trees, shrubs, usually near some body of water. The Joshua Tree campsites are in the open near boulders with a few scruffy, dry bushes. No privacy in these campsites! I bet the stars are breathtaking at night.

We all decided souveniers we all wanted were cacti. Morongo Valley had a store that advertised "Dig Your Own Cactus" and we stopped there on our way back to Palm Springs. This was so much fun! There were cacti dish gardens, small individual cactus, and large cacti to purchase. We all picked out small dish gardens and several of the small cacti. They were placed in a box and was one of our carry ons for the flight home. These were some of the more original, meaningful souveniers we've ever gotten!


donnie said...

Annabelle's photographs are just breathtaking, and I appreciate and understand them much more now with your added description. I'm jealous you got to dig your own cati, that sounds pretty cool, what a great keep sake. I'm glad you all had a great time in the sun together. =]

holly said...

Ann does take great photos but I have to tell you that some of the pictures posted were taken by me! Her talent is rubbing off a bit!

donnie said...

well i apologize, kudos to you!