Warmth Again – Joshua Tree National Park, CA

josh tree

From the Grand Canyon we drove down to Joshua Tree State Park in California.  The trees are very unusual, as you can see.  The park is a bowl surrounded by mountains, with two ecosystems, one with more rain (where the Joshua Trees grow) and a lower one with the more typical cacti and shrubs.  Although it was cool (high in the mid-50s) by their standards, we were happy to get out of the snow and ice.  Here’s a “forest” of these trees:

forest

The drive through the park was in very good shape in the north-west section, although the southern section was less well maintained.  At the southern exit we dropped right onto I-10.  Here’s a photo of the road through the Joshua Trees:

drive

One of the hikes in Joshua Tree went to Barker Dam, created by cattle rustlers – here’s a cool photo Chris snapped there:

barker dam

Below the Joshua Tree zone and above the lower, drier desert is a garden of Cholla Cactus, also called “Teddy Bear Cactus”.  They look very soft but there are lots of warning signs about how nasty the microscopic needles are on these – parents are encouraged to maintain tight control of their small children on the path.

cholla

Many visitors to Joshua Tree National Forest climb the rock formations here – they are composed of magma that pushed up through the earth’s crust, split vertically and horizontally during their formation.

rocks

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