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Where the Streets Have No Name

August 5, 2014

 

Monday was all about two things: Joshua Tree National Park, and driving through the desert.

We woke up In Beaumont, CA, which is about an hour from the entrance to Joshua Tree. So we started the day with an hour of desert driving. The park, of course, is also in the desert, so we spent the next several hours doing more desert driving. And when we were finished, we hopped on the Interstate and headed east toward Phoenix. Yes, more desert driving.

Joshua Tree National Park is known mostly for its thousands of Joshua trees, which grow in the Mojave Desert and very few other places. They’re kind of a mix between a cactus and a tree. They generally have standard tree-looking trunks and branches, but the ends of the branches are pom-poms of cactus spikes, kind of like a person was wearing cactus mittens. According to legend, the tree got its name from Mormon pioneers who thought the branches looked like the outstretched arms of Joshua leading the Jewish people into Israel.

Joshua Tree

I’m not sure I see it, especially because I’m pretty sure that Joshua didn’t wear cactus mittens. But I’ll let this one slide.

And of course we saw plenty of Joshua trees. But we also saw junipers, kangaroo rats, lizards of various kinds, and cholla cacti, which look soft and furry from a distance but are actually horrendously sharp and painful.

Cholla cactus

The temperature this time of year is usually over 100 degrees but we lucked out and it was in the low 80s with mostly clear skies, so we did a little bit of hiking, at least until Sam twisted his ankle. (Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious.) Meanwhile, here’s some of what we found:

Cactus

Lizard

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Cactus flowers

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

This is what a Joshua tree looks like when it's just a baby. Sam says it looks like a pineapple.

This is what a Joshua tree looks like when it’s just a baby. Sam says it looks like a pineapple.

Joshua tree

Skull Rock

Skull Rock

Bighorn Sheep crossing

Split Rock

Split Rock

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

The Hamster looks out over Coachella Valley and the San Andreas fault.

The Hamster looks out over Coachella Valley and the San Andreas fault.

I’m a little tired out from all the driving and the hot sun, so I’m going to let the Hamster take it from here.

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