Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Joshua Tree National Park ~ Mojave Desert ~ Colorado Desert ~ California

We have visited Joshua Tree National Park several times over the years and especially enjoy taking someone who has never seen it before.  It offers so many different and interesting types of landscape and it never ceases to be an amazing day.  Sometimes it is a drive through, sometimes we are out for interesting hikes but no matter what, these trips are always with my camera in hand.  Of the hundreds of photos that I have taken, I have chosen but a few that hopefully will show the diversity of this National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park ~ S. California

The park was named after the Joshua tree, which were so named by the early settlers that felt the trees looked like the welcoming arms of Joshua as he guided them on their travels.  These trees, also called the tree of life, are seen mainly in the Mohave Desert and because they spread their shallow roots to collect as much surface moisture as possible, they do not cluster together as other trees will do.
Joshua Tree blossom

The time of the blossoms on the Joshua tree can vary some through springtime so it took more than one trip over the years before I was able to finally see this beautiful bloom and get the photos.  There can be more than one bloom on each tree although not always but the blooms are very large and so pretty. 
Climbers on the rocks of Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Park is known as a world-class rock climbing spot and there are a few places through out the park that you might find some climbers.  These rocks are huge and until you see someone on the rock face, it is hard to realize their size in a photo. We’ve watched many of them go up or down the rocks but never has it ever tempted us to try! 
Intriguing rocks of Joshua Tree National Park

The formation of these rocks is so very interesting.  Many are rounded, which also makes for easy climbing for the young adventuresome grandkids while the picnic lunch is being prepared.  There are some great spots amongst the rocks that make for easy access to a picnic table right beside a parking lot.  There are several camping locations, as well.
A catch basin in Joshua Tree National Park
We were so surprised to see this beautiful place when we were walking in to see Barker Dam.  The dam was originally built years ago by ranchers in the area so they could take advantage of the water from this catch basin.  Eventually they would move on as there just is not enough rainfall in the area to feed their livestock but it is still a great water supply for all the animals that do live in the desert.
Cholla Cactus Garden in Colorado Desert of Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park consists of the Mojave Desert in the higher elevations and the Colorado Desert in the lower eastern side of the park which also means there will be different landscape and growth, all very interesting for spending some time in the desert.  The cholla cactus garden is a great place to stop for photos when you’re in the Colorado Desert of the Joshua Tree Park.  
Cholla cactus coming into bloom

I’ve yet to see the cholla in full bloom but have been there twice when the buds were making their appearance and getting ready to bloom.  The cholla look like a soft fluffy plant from a distance but a close up shows they are full of spikes.  There is a parking lot plus a great walking path so you can wander at your leisure to enjoy these cactii.  
Blooms on the Chuparoasa bush add bright red to the desert colors
My favorite time is when the desert blossoms are there but that may mean more than one visit.  The Mojave Desert is higher elevation and can be chilly with later blooms but the Colorado Desert warms up sooner, being a lower elevation so this can mean some weeks between visits for blossoms.
Creosote bush blooms and Mojave Yucca plant
The desert needs to get some rain, although not a lot in order to make those blossoms appear in abundance, and then it needs some heat to encourage that growth.  The sun shines lots so there is no shortage of that but your timing makes the difference as to which blooms you will see at any given time.  
Coreopsis covers the sandy flats

This little yellow flower, the coreopsis was everywhere I turned at this stop in the park.  They are just one kind of many that will cover the desert floor to make it a pretty sight in the spring. We saw purple, pink and white flowers all through the Colorado Desert of the Joshua Tree National Park.  It is a good idea to travel with a booklet that will identify all these beautiful flowers when they are in bloom.
To learn more about viewing the blooms of the desert, check this webpage for the current schedule.

If you wish to see more of other visits of ours to the Joshua Tree National Park in the past or to learn more about the park, click here where I posted an earlier page.
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1 comment:

  1. Dear Sheila, I loved your photos; always beautiful and delightful to see---over and over again. we are proud to have such a talent in our "family tree" Love, Aunt Jean !!



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