Thursday, March 18, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA

Monday we drove into the Joshua Tree National Park and were mesmerized by the scenery! The park was proclaimed a national monument in 1936 when Mrs. Minerva Hamilton Hoyt was upset at how visitors were treating the area and stealing the cactus and requested that President Franklin Roosevelt proclaim it a national monument. It covers 1, 017, 748 acres, both federal and non-federal, and is open year round. Two deserts meet in the park: the Colorado Desert in the east, where the creosote bush prevails, and the Mojave Desert in the west, which is the area where the Joshua tree is most abundant.

We started out by hiking 1.7 miles on the Skull Rock trail, which wound through the desert and among the was beautiful! Our second stop was Keys's not a trail, but rather a lookout point where visitors can see the San Andreas Fault directly below, the Salton Sea to the south, Palm Springs and Indio with the San Jacinto Peak behind them, and the 11,500 foot San Giordono Mountain to the north. Awesome!

As we headed out of the park, we stopped at the Barker Dam, which was at the end of a 1/2 mile hike. The dam is a water-storage reservoir that was constructed by ranchers in the early 1900s using an existing natural tank and is the watering spot for desert wildlife, including bighorn sheep.

There's still a cattle trough at the bottom of the dam.

We enjoyed our trek through the park and the weather was fabulous...all in all a great day!

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