Monday, October 13, 2008

My Birthday: Joshua Tree National Park


I spent my birthday last Friday wandering around (in some cases literally) and driving through Joshua Tree National Park. It's a pretty amazing place. My friend Carol and I got up pretty early, had a fifty-dollar breakfast in Palm Springs (that's the only kind they have there, actually), picked up our rental car and drove forty miles to the little-used Cottonwood Springs entrance. Palm Springs does a lot of things well, but promote nearby Joshua Tree isn't one of them. Virtually NO mention of the park in any of the promotional literature scattered throughout the whole town. NONE. Which explains why this nearby entrance is little-used, I guess.

We had decided to do a pretty good-sized desert hike, the Lost Palms Oasis hike at 8 miles. When we got there, we learned it was really only 6.8 but still: that's a long walk in the god-forsaken desert. We handled it with aplomb, mainly because it never got above 90 and was pleasantly breezy most of the time. Sand sand sand, ocotillo, sand. Oh look a rock. Lizard. Sand, cactusy thing. OOO a rock. And then ta-da, oasis. Then all of that backwards.





We then left that section of the park, the Colorado desert part, and went to the Mojave part which was like visiting Mars. Thirty degrees cooler and alien-looking. Lots of photos like this. 247 of them, actually. I sort of wish we'd hiked in this part rather than the hotter part but eh, what can you do. Then we committed some felonies and stole some joshua tree seed pods. Ha ha, eat it, Park Service.







It was a pretty cool place. Crappy gift shop, though, and if you're keeping score this year that's a LOT of crappy National Park gift shoppes. I really do need to just go up there to DC and get the Dept of the Interior t-shirts in order. It's shameful how awful most of them are.