Joshua Tree National Park

This morning Tracy and I went for a two-hour hike in Joshua Tree National Park.  It was pretty different than Saturday’s hike in the hills of San Jacinto.  For one thing, there was a lot more vegetation.  I’m assuming that Joshua Tree hadn’t experienced the full extend of drought that San Jacinto had.  There was also a lot more rocks, higher elevations, and more animals.

The flowers in Joshua Tree were gorgeous.  They were, for me, a welcome relief from the low shrubs and desert plants that dominated the landscape.  I loved the pop of color they provided.  It was also interesting to see flowers that looked so different from what I’m used to.

We tried to hike up Mastodon Peak (which apparently is considered strenuous.  Who knew?), but I got really scared and couldn’t do it.  All of a sudden, I was filled with fear that I would lose grip and fall.  I don’t know why because I was wedged between really large boulders.  Still, I had to go down on my butt and crouching.  It was so weird to be suddenly afraid when I hadn’t been before.  What’s worse is that we really were only 50-100 feet from the top.

That said, the decent was good.  At one point Tracy called to me to back up and look to my left.  There we saw a desert tortoise.  THAT was cool.  We really hadn’t seen many animals on either of our hikes, so that was special.  The tortoise was just checking us out too.  Actually, I imagine it was waiting for us to leave.  As in, “Could you two move on?  It’s going to take me all day and I just don’t have it to waste.” 🙂

The only thing that I couldn’t seem to capture was how high and expansive the park is.  I think the pictures just make it look like a lot of rock.  Oh well…  I’m guessing that some things you just have to experience yourself.

The only thing I didn’t see — Joshua Trees.  Apparently they are at the other end of the park. Oh well…  It’s probably not the same without U2.

Trying to capture just how BIG it all is.

Trying to capture just how BIG it all is.

Just a cool looking flower.

Just a cool looking flower.

A close up -- cool shape, great color.

A close up -- cool shape, great color.

What a pretty pop of orange.

What a pretty pop of orange.

An unexpected, yet wonderful, surprise in the desert.

An unexpected, yet wonderful, surprise in the desert.

Slightly closer...

Slightly closer...

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