Jun 17, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park, California

With this trip we complete 10 National park visit. See our visits from our other parks HERE. Standing here in the desert and the area is clam, quite deserted as we are a week early from Thanksgiving break.  Palm trees beacon the streets, desert type appearance, sand blowing across the main road with the light breeze and the famous Joshua trees that give the park its name.

Silhouette of Joshua Trees at Sunset
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites at Twentynine Palms. 29 Palms has a multitude of hotels to choose from. Lots of restaurants with cuisines ranging from fast food to Chinese, Thai, Indian and Mexican all along the way.  The city's website had more information on all food, lodging and events available.

The night we arrived we checked into our hotel, had a quick bite for dinner and entered the park post dusk. Here we stopped at Skys the Limit - a free Observatory and nature centre. Here volunteers and astronomers have telescopes for viewing the night sky. View the smallest objects, ask questions and view even a planet! We saw globular clusters, Uranus, planetary nebulae and of course all free to the public.
We started our day by visiting Oasis of Mara visitor centre. The park entrance via The West Station is more scenic with Joshua Trees lined along the roads than the drive via the North Entrance. Here we saw a geokinetic sculpture, saw some unique cactii, and some cactus upclose with their super thorny structures.

Closeup of cactus thorns

Heart shaped cacti

The drive up to Keys View is gorgeous with lots of  Joshua Trees lining alongside the road. There is a steep pathway that overlooks the Salton Sea and the Palm Springs Resort town. This area is prone to windy and cold. On clear days you can see the Coachella valley and in the distant Palm Springs. Distant views of the Salton Sea which is located 230 feet below sea level. The Santa Rosa mountains and the San Jacinto Peak with the San Gregorio Mountains can be seen on clear days.

This place truly freaked me out. The rock formation really looked like a skull with sunken eyes and a mouth and nose. It made a good picture point. We didn't stay here for long. 

This was my favorite of all the places we saw here at Joshua. These Cactii look so perfect shades of brown and off white. But they are deadly. Each stem has long thorn like pincers that pierced through and through. They were blown away with the wind and invariable stuck onto my shoes. With cautious maneuvering we managed to remove the thorns only to be stung by another. So if your going be careful specially if kids are around. You would not want a "BooBoo" here. 

Hiking through the Cacti Garden

Flowering cacti

The scenic winding route at Cholla garden
We traversed over boulders, rocks and passed by Joshua trees. There were millions of boulders. Here is a pic of what it looked like.

Another National Park off our bucketlist. Onward journey to New Mexico!

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