Joshua Tree National Park

I can't imagine how old this Juniper tree is, how many storms its weathered, how long it has stood its ground. But as the sun set over Keys View I was fascinated by its tenacity and beautiful texture and location.

Joshua Tree National Park is a special, surreal place. You feel as though you’re in Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” as you contemplate the twisted, furry, charismatic Joshua Trees that ¬†flourish in this desert valley north of Coachella, California.

Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) are related to yucca and take their name from Mormon settlers who thought the trees' branches looked like the biblical story of Joshua throwing his arms up in prayer. Joshua trees have a mutual relationship with yucca moths, whose larvae feed on and spread the trees' seeds.

The park is easy to get to off of Interstate 10 and casual travelers can drive through in a few hours to get a good sense of the bizarre essence of this desert valley. To fully take in the geographical structures, wildlife, and spirit of the park, however, there are several camping sites amongst giant boulders that provide excellent opportunities to familiarize yourself with the amazing landscape.The Cholla Cactus Garden along the Pinto Basin Road in Joshua Tree National Park is worth the stop. Along with the deceivingly cuddly-looking cacti, there are many cute Harris' Antelope Squirrels.

These semi-tame squirrels are used to visitors. To get a close-up shot without feeding them, I just pretended I was throwing something on the ground and waited. I put a brown nut on this fence and this little guy warily ran towards me.

My trip through Joshua Tree National Park was brief, but exhilarating. We entered the park from the south entrance and drove up Pinto Basin Road past the Ocotillo Patch and the amazing Cholla Cactus Garden. We stopped by White Tank Campground, and saw a Kit Fox run up the hill near Jumbo Rocks, then went up to Keys View for the sunset. The featured photo is of a snarled juniper at the top of Keys View, overlooking the Coachella Valley. 

2 Replies to “Joshua Tree National Park”

  1. I love your pix of the Joshua Tree area. I have a vacation home there that I rent out , and I have a FB page where I like to post interesting and beautiful images of the area.
    It seems it’s ok to post your work to FB, but I always like to ask!
    Your images are really captivating, thank you for sharing!
    Best, Barbara

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