Every year, Alex and I visit some property of the National Park Service. In some years it’s a hardcore park like Yellowstone, others it’s a National Historic Site or something of that nature, like the National Mall or the Statue of Liberty. When we started planning the trip to California, I actually considered Channel Islands National Park for quite a while, but apparently they’re more fun for people who like to boat. And while I like to ride in boats, my only experiences with actually driving the boat involved me causing the canoe to capsize at Girl Scout camp.
So I went back to the proverbial drawing board and looked at the list of parks again. This time I did the math on Joshua Tree. I also asked a friend whose father is a retired park ranger and the friend said that Joshua Tree is a great place to learn about desert ecosystems. And with that I was sold. We ended up going to Joshua Tree.
We intended to get up early and head out at about 6 or 7 am so that we could miss the hottest part of the day. Yeah. That didn’t work out so well. By the time we got there (quarter to noon) the only wildlife we saw was a coyote who was apparently running late.
We stuck to Park Boulevard for most of our visit, arriving at the West Entrance Station and leaving at the North Entrance Station. We took the Keys View detour to see if we could see the San Andreas Fault (which is visible on a clear day). Unfortunately, it was not a really clear day. It wasn’t cloudy, I don’t even know if it was smog. I’ve been toying with the image and I think I can see the fault. At least it looks like the thing that’s labeled the fault on other photos. It doesn’t look like any of the faults here in Bexar County, though, that’s for sure. We also considered hiking out to the Lost Horse Mine, but we didn’t want to commit that much time to the trip in the heat of summer. I think we did walk out a while, but didn’t get too far.
Overall, we spent three hours at the park and saw most of the northern half of the park. It looks like if you want to see most of the rest you’ll have to be a more intrepid hiker than I am.
I did bring the recommended amount of water (a gallon apiece) and I even used sunblock. I wear a face lotion with sunblock all of the time, but generally the rest of my body is left to its own devices. The informational signs were informative and the people we bumped into were friendly and maybe when I return to California someday I’ll take some of those paths that go out into the hinterlands. Not in the summer though. I promise.
Yay! It’s Gratuitous Amazon Link Time! And in what I’m sure is a complete surprise, I’m going to post a link to U2’s album The Joshua Tree in my article on Joshua Tree. An awesome album by an amazing band (and I hope they come to Texas again someday — I want to take Alex to see them).