Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

I just returned from two days camping with friends in Joshua Tree, a national park over 500,000 acres in size which contains two separate deserts, a Colorado type desert and a Mojave type desert. Contrary to what you might think, deserts are quite alive and are magical places. There’s lots of flowering cactus and succulents, lizards, rabbits, tortoises, coyote, big horn sheep, and, of course, rattlers.

It was about 100 on Saturday and the temperature peaks out at about 115 during July (“But it’s a dry heat!”) . JTree is knows for its immense rock formations and draws rock climbers from all over the world during the winter months when the rock isn’t too hot to climb. There are many abandoned mines, primarily from the 1940’s.











A Joshua Tree. The flower is edible with no preparation needed. Indians used it for food.












Rock piles like this are common in JTree. Note size of car. Many rock piles are orders of magnitude larger.











Desert flowers bloom in a spectacular manner when/if the spring rains come.











Tombstone. “Here is where Worth Bagley bit the dust at the hand of W.F. Keys. May 14, 1943.”  The green was painted in recently by a film crew. Bagely was shot over a dispute of ownership of a dirt road that led to a gold mill. Keys did five years, then was released when a judge said it was self-defense. He returned to the area and ranched until he died in 1969.









Desert tortoise about 2 1/2 feet long