Palm Springs Area & Joshua Tree National Park


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Published: February 23rd 2018
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For readers considering travel to Southern California, if Joshua Tree is not on your bucket list it should be. To quote the Park Service, Joshua Trees look like they're right off the pages of a Doctor Seuss book, but must be seen to be appreciated. They're beautiful while at the same time being strange in shape, texture, and structure. Some are large trees with branches reaching to the heavens and others equally tall without any branches at all. According to prevailing rumor, Mormon settlers named the plants because the large yucca cactus with their arms reached to the heavens reminded them of Joshua in prayer. I guess it's as good an explanation as any other. The trees, while the star of the park, are just one piece of its beauty. Large rock formations, piles of boulders in the desert, snow capped mountain views, and unexpected cactus fields keep the drive through the park full of surprises. Like many of our National Parks, Joshua Tree is so expansive with widely varied plant and landscapes it's hard to describe the park in paragraph or two. It's made up of Mojave and Colorado ecosystems with large rock formations and Joshua Trees in the Mojave
Snow Capped Mountain ViewSnow Capped Mountain ViewSnow Capped Mountain View

Some of the first trees we passed on the west side of the park.
and Teddy Bear cactus, flat desert basins, and piles of boulders in the Colorado. As I've written in every blog; words and pictures do not do justice to the majesty of this country's national parks. We entered the park from the west side and departed on the south and recommend anyone going to the park either enter or leave the park through the west side. The park has wonderful "dry" campgrounds nestled among the boulders and all the hiking anyone could want. Word of caution though, either wear heavy walking boots or watch where you step (or both). I stepped on a harmless looking fuzzy Teddy Bear cactus ball, which at the time I just brushed off my sneakers; however, by the time we got back to the RV the little fuzz made it through the shoe's sole and into my foot...Ouch! I spent the next 20 minutes with needle nose pliers pulling the buggers out of my shoe.

After the park, our next item of interest was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It was a much higher (8,516 feet) than the tram we rode in El Paso, carried a lot more people, and travelled 2.5 miles up the
Having FunHaving FunHaving Fun

Our little brown Maggie enjoyed the day for a while. Then she wanted to just nap in the car.
cliff side. Once again, I'm not a great fan of heights and this experience did not exactly alieve those fears. In fact this while this tram was larger, it also had a lot more swing to it and to make matters worse the floor of the tram rotates 360 degrees on the trip so there is nothing to hold on to. The ride up was packed and a bit disorienting for me, but Mi Hyon was in her element and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. You'll see in the pictures how on one side of San Jacinto's summit there is a forest environment with Pinyon Pines while on the other just dry desert. Wherever we looked..it seemed as if we could see forever. For hikers there are miles of trails on top of the summit, but today it was too icy and cold (20 degrees) for Mi Hyon and I to venture too far from the facility. Since the ride down wasn't full, I could stand in the center and hold onto something and enjoyed that trip much more. Once down on the ground it was a very nice 65 degrees and sunny. We've been blessed with very nice weather, that
Climbing LessonsClimbing LessonsClimbing Lessons

Adventure business teaching folks to repel down the boulders. It was kind of funny watching first time climbers easing out onto the cliff face. Better them than me ;-)
is until Thursday when the winds reached 55 MPH again. Can't do too much outside in that kind of wind so we went to a Desert Hot Springs' spa to soak in the natural mineral hot spring and chat with some Canadians down for the winter.

During the downtime, we caught up on laundry and shopped in the local COSTCO (We never miss the COSTCOs). On Saturday, we're headed to Edwards AFB to tour that area on the way to San Francisco. After 4 days in SF, we head to Monterey Ca home to Pebble Beach and a short drive from the Hearst Castle. We were lucky to get reservations in the military RV Park at the Naval Post Graduate site in Monterey so we'll spend a few relaxing days there before heading east to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Monterey provides us a bit of a delay to allow the two mountain parks time to thaw a little ;-)

We're nearing the end of our planned 10,000 mile trip, so now we'll start planning our 2700 mile drive home for short stop in Columbus before heading to Belfast. If you add in our car travel, we'll have logged 17,000 road miles since we left home in August. We're starting to feel a little homesick, but the pull to see the last few California points of interest is stronger...so on we go :-)


Additional photos below
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Short walk Short walk
Short walk

The park service restricts dogs to 100 feet from the car so walks are short.
Skull RockSkull Rock
Skull Rock

Check out the holes in the boulder called skull rock.
Formations change to Piles of BouldersFormations change to Piles of Boulders
Formations change to Piles of Boulders

As we move south through the park into the Colorado ecosystem, the rock formations change dramatically.
Jumping [Teddybear] Cholla Cactus FieldJumping [Teddybear] Cholla Cactus Field
Jumping [Teddybear] Cholla Cactus Field

Strange endless field of Teddy Bear Cholla cactus.
Harmless Teddy Bear Fuzz BallsHarmless Teddy Bear Fuzz Balls
Harmless Teddy Bear Fuzz Balls

Unless you step on them in sneakers.
Ocotillo CactusOcotillo Cactus
Ocotillo Cactus

The ocotillo look like the are ready to bloom. However, we are little too early for the bursts of red flowers in spring.
Our ride up the Palm Springs TramwayOur ride up the Palm Springs Tramway
Our ride up the Palm Springs Tramway

It was packed on the way up. I didn't like the spinning floor with nothing to hold onto. Looks like Mi Hyon is just fine ;-)
The Cable Counter WeightThe Cable Counter Weight
The Cable Counter Weight

Maybe the most interesting item of the ride for me. This almost 61 ton weight that moved up and down 6-7 feet while I watched it. All to keep the cable tight.
Looking over Palm SpringsLooking over Palm Springs
Looking over Palm Springs

Our RV park is way off in the distance.


24th February 2018
Our ride up the Palm Springs Tramway

I've been to Southern Cal but have never seen these sites, very interesting trees and beautiful mountains. I have to say that the selfie picture of Mihyon and Mike in the tram is so funny and cute, it is priceless and might be my favorite picture yet!!! Are you going to see the redwood forest or go to Napa? I love the San Francisco area and would live there if I could have convinced Danny to move there but he refuses to move to California. It is also too expensive and we would probably still be renting with unpaid student loans in the bank!

Tot: 2.055s; Tpl: 0.116s; cc: 12; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0905s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb