The serenity of Joshua Tree National Park

Trip Start Feb 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 30, 2012

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Where I stayed
Black Rock Canyon Joshua Tree National Park
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, May 24, 2012

We've been settled into Joshua Tree for a few days now. The trees, for which the park is named, are not actually trees, but a member of the Yucca family.  They look like trees from a Dr. Seuss book – all gnarly and fluffy at the ends.  The spring must have given the area some good rain because there are still many, many wildflowers around.  Cara said that on her first hike around she saw as many as fifty different kinds.  Some, she said, were as small as a pinhead.  The weather is pretty warm – hits 100+ in the early afternoon, so Alan and Cara went hiking early and left me in the car.  Before they went, they turned the air conditioning on to cool it way down, but it was still dark since Alan put Reflectix on all the windows to keep out the heat.  I don’t know why I can’t go hiking too.  After all, they let me do some of the driving!!

Joshua Tree National Park is huge with three different entry points, this time we stayed in the Black Rock Canyon area, just east of Yucca Valley.  The campground is primitive, but there are the basics – but no showers – which is fine, because I prefer baths anyway.  This time of year is really off-season for this park, because of the extreme conditions, so there are only a few other campers around.  Big change from Carpinteria where you could practically touch the motorhome next to you without getting out of your chair.  Oh well, the price of popularity.

But as much as I love the ocean (I am, after all, a tropical bird), I can see how people fall in love with the peace and serenity of the desert.  It’s quiet here, except when the squirrels scuffle over food, or the bluejay’s screech or the quail make their funny noises.  We sit around in the shade most of the day, reading and chatting and watching the wild life.  Then after sunset the stars put on quite a show – it’s really, really, impressive.

This morning, after Cara made us pancakes, eggs and bacon, she and Alan headed off to do the Hi View Nature Trail – about a 3 mile hike with some serious elevation gain.  They left me in the dark, again.  They said the trail was beautiful with some outstanding views – at the very top there was a notebook that was signed by many of the other hikers.

Tomorrow we pull up camp and head out toward Arizona.  We’ve got reservations at the Grand Canyon, South Rim starting Monday the 28th, but no real plans until then.  That’s quite a bit of ground to cover – around 600 miles, so I’ll definitely be taking my turn at driving, which is fun, but kinda tough to reach the gas pedal.

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