Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Joshua Tree

It was only a two hour drive from Anaheim to the campground at Joshua Tree National Park, but the two places could hardly be more different. We started out driving in eight-lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, but climbed up and out into the country, passing along the way a wind farm that filled a valley and all of its ridges. There must have been thousands of wind turbines.

We arrived at the Black Rock campground at 4000 feet and nestled in a grove of Joshua Trees. The campground is in rough shape - mainly in the sense that its roads are in extremely poor repair, and virtually none of the sites are anywhere near level. But, we squeezed our bulk around and into our site, and had enough leveling blocks to accommodate the slope. Although not far from the town of Yucca Valley, we felt removed from town and surrounded by nature.

This, like most national park campgrounds, has no electrical or water hookups, so we had to economize. With two batteries, topped off with the generator each day, we had no problem living "off the grid". The weather was perfect - warm enough so not need to run the furnace; cool enough so that the air conditioner wasn't necessary.

We drove into the park proper for an afternoon of hiking and sightseeing. I expected to see lots of joshua trees, and was not disappointed, but did not expect such an amazing landscape of rock and boulders. The park is a big destination for rock climbers, and everywhere we went we saw them scaling the fastastic formations. It was at times like being on another planet, and it was indeed a beautiful place.

These guys are scurrying around everywhere, but this one was particularly tame. Would you believe he tried to sell me car insurance?

Great trails right from the campground, too, with lots of bird species, jack rabbits and coyotes. Here is Nancy at the top of a nearby peak:

Gorgeous landscapes, perfect temperatures, and nothing caps off a good log entry like a spectacular sunset!

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