We left the Coachella Valley today for a trek to Phoenix…This is a straightforward drive of about 240 miles. But the path of Interstate 10 winds southeast around Joshua Tree National Park. This park was established in the 1930s which seems to make it one of our younger ones.
Joshua Tree is a confluence of two desert environments: the Mohave and the Colorado…The Colorado is generally flat, sits at a lower elevation, and rarely has winter days that fall below freezing.
The Mohave is mote mountainous at a higher elevation.
The road from the entrance on the south side began in the Colorado, transitioned back and forth, entered the Mohave, and finally changed back to the Colorado. The vegetation also changed accordingly. The Ocotello Tree was my favorite feature of the Colorado Desert…They look like trees but have the needles of a cactus. There had been some rain this week, and the leaves of the Ocotello sprout and turn red with moisture:
As the deserts collided, we came upon a cacti garden:
And we finally found out what a Joshua Tree was when we entered the Mohave…We were told that the presence of these cacti-trees in the Mohave is similar to the Saguaro Cacti of the Senora Desert…Most of The wildlife use them for nests, a food source, protection, or all of the above. In the Mohave, the Joshua is known as the “Tree of Life.”
We made a very short visit to this startlingly beautiful landscape. While we visited in the very comfortable 50 degrees of March, this terrain can kill you if it is not respected…I also found myself reminded, once again, of the treasures of California that few people ever see…Most prefer Hollywood or the beaches, and delude themselves into thinking that they SAW California. It is the rare traveler that adds this experience to their travel-line. Come see it if you are anywhere near…