Thursday, February 19, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park

Last Sunday, hubby and I visited Joshua Tree National Park. It was our first visit in nearly 33 years! I recall that we last visited it about 1977, when we bought our VW van and drove all over the West with it! That was back in the days without digital cameras! (unfortunately!). We drove all the way through the park, starting at the west entrance and ended up at Cottonwood Springs. CS was very cool, even in our desert climate. Anyway, I had a four day weekend last weekend and hubby did, too, so we visited a few areas that we normally don't have the time to see! Joshua Tree is now a national park and you can use your NP pass to enter. We bought one last summer when we visited the Grand Canyon with our son and future daughter-in-law. Again, we entered through the west entrance, which is up by the town of Joshua Tree. NOTE: Make sure you have enough gas to get you through the park. There are NO gas stations inside the park and it is HUGE! I, DUH...only had 1/4 tank of gas and as we headed up the grade into the interior of the park, I began to worry. Fortunately, with my Honda CRV, I could watch the gas mileage gauge and see how many MPG I was getting (about 15) uphill. BUT...I knew I would coast down the grade and get 60 mpg, so I figured I was okay, but I would NOT do that again! Gas up in either Yucca Valley or Joshua Tree BEFORE you enter the park! Also, take water with you. We traveled there on an overcast, cold day, but many people travel in spring or summer. There are various picnic places and restrooms, but, in our desert southwest, it is important to take extra water with you!As we entered the park, hubby decided we should make a beeline to Keys Point, the highest point in the park, and visit the overlook. It is about 15 miles from the park entrance to KP. It is also about 6 miles from the turnoff to the park entrance, so plan your mileage accordingly! As we got closer to Keys Point, the elevation got higher and the temperature got colder. Once there, we noticed that other people were bundled up and when we got out of the car, we found out why! With the dry air and wind, it was about 40 degrees! I quickly wrapped up with mittens, a scarf, and my BIG, heavy, waterproof jacket with a hood! Hubby took a pic of me and I'll have to find it on his laptop! But, Keys Point is one place you should stop and see. From there, you can view the entire Coachella Valley below, from the Salton Sea, to Mt. San Jacinto. The San Andreas fault line runs through the middle of the valley and you can actually see it from KP. They also have an exhibit there which tells about the fault. Here are some pics of our visit to Joshua Tree. The joshua trees only grow in the high desert, at higher elevations, so even though we are less than 60 miles away, they do not grow in the lower desert.


Diane C. said...

Another fascinating place you visited that I've never been to. It looks like a different world with the strange looking rocks and Joshua trees!

Tricia said...

Very interesting information & great photos too! I didn't know that about the fault line moving 2 in. a year! Amazing!