Tag Archives: Joshua Tree National Park

Thanksgiving Rocks: Pt. 1

3 Dec

Looking out at the grey rainy sky right now, it’s quite nice to think back two weeks when I was not confined indoors (since every Californian knows that contact with any form of precipitation may result in untimely death). Unlike Robin, I work a normal 40-hour-per-week desk job and more than one camping trip in a month, let alone a week, is a miraculous event. I felt very thankful indeed this Thanksgiving that I got to spend two weekends in a row in two of southern California’s most gorgeous places.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Robin and her posse invited me to J-Tree (that’s how cool people say Joshua Tree) and I invited a good friend from work to come with us. It honestly didn’t take that much alcohol to kidnap her convince her to go.

I’m a hiker, not a climber, but when you hang out with a bunch of climbers in J-Tree, the visit ends up being a bit more vertical than I’m accustomed to.

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Up ’til now you’ve seen the real climbers doing their thing. My non-climbing friend and I didn’t get left behind though. It may not look as impressive, but it felt pretty epic.

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Whether up high or on solid ground, Joshua Tree remains one of my favorite national parks in the area (among about 30 others). Every time I go it’s another experience and after this time, I really can’t wait to get back.

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~April (in Autumn)

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Joshua Tree’s Master of Camouflage

25 Mar

Lets get this part over with:

 

The challenge I left you with was finding the wildlife hiding in this photo:

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This was a bit of an unfair challenge considering that this critter can camouflage better than Peeta in the 74th Hunger Games. Not to mention he was camped out nearly a mile away from us. Let’s zoom in a bit:

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Look just to the right of the creosote bush at the center of the horizon in the last photo and you will see it, the shy king of Joshua Tree: the Desert Bighorn Sheep.

At this point you are probably wondering how on earth we spotted this. The truth is….we didn’t. I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t have seen it if a Canadian couple hadn’t pointed it out for us. (Thanks guys!)

My camera couldn’t zoom in anymore for a better picture. Fortunately, April was able to save the day:

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I was positively thrilled because I’d been hoping to see a desert bighorn after April and I went to a ranger program about them the last time I came to visit Joshua Tree. In fact, I’m still enchanted by a story the ranger told during the program: The Paiute Legend of Why the North Star Stands Still.

Desert Bighorns. Another reason to love J-Tree.

~Robin

A Desert I-Spy

12 Mar

First of all, this post is about Joshua Tree, which means you need to listen to this while you read it:

Now that we’ve properly set the mood, you may continue.

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I still have not seen The Lorax, because I spent the opening weekend with April in Joshua Tree National Park. I did however, get to hang out with real plants that look whimsical enough to have sprouted from the imagination of Dr. Seuss.

The desert was as enchanting as ever. It awed with its alien landscapes that look like they belong on another planet. It surprised me with its extremes and the ability of life to adapt to a climate where heat and wind quickly strip away what little moisture there is. Even at its most beautiful, it reminded me of its fragility with stunning sunsets made more spectacular by airborne particulates from smog and starry nights blurred by lights from nearby cities.

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Highlights from the trip include hiking the Lost Horse Mine Loop trail, hiking with April to Lost Palms Oasis and Mastodon peak in the same day, and seeing desert flowers in bloom. The cliché of listening to U2’s Joshua Tree album while in Joshua Tree still hasn’t lost its charm for me. I also had a cool sighting of what I think was a Prairie Falcon dive-bombing a pair of ravens. I thought ravens were acrobatic in the air, but this thing was flying circles around them while -literally- flipping the bird.

However, the best wildlife sighting of the trip can be seen here:

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Can you find it?

~Robin