Joshua Tree National Park, CA Part 2 (Traveled Feb. 2013)

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

I awoke to freezing temperatures and relentless driving wind.  I drove about 15 miles to the park’s Cholla Cactus Garden.  Here, a dense stand of chest- high teddy bear cholla covered an area somewhat larger than a football field.  There were several conspicuous signs warning visitors of the especially dangerous nature of the cholla cactus and the potential for painful injuries.  I walked the trail through the middle of the cactus garden, stopping at several points to observe the nuances of each section.  The setting was relaxing and beautiful.  Trail signs explained that the black sections on some of the plants did not indicate death; they were in fact alive and healthy.  Another sign explained that cacti in general will only grow in sections of desert that receive regular hard rains.  This is why much of the desert southwest is devoid of cacti.

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

I spent the afternoon hiking to the 49 Palms Oasis on the northern end of the park.  Roughly 3 miles from the parking lot I arrived at a grove of 40+ foot tall palms growing along a trickling stream.  The scene starkly contrasted with the surrounding barren, brown desert.

The Marines have a large base several miles to the north called Twentynine Palms.  The road to the 49 Palms trailhead passed through a residential area in which many homes flew American and USMC flags along with other patriotic memorabilia.  This was a heartening scene in a time when so many Americans don’t appreciate their country.

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Joshua trees near the center of the park

Joshua trees near the center of the park

49 Palms Canyon Trail

49 Palms Canyon Trail

49 Palms Oasis

49 Palms Oasis

49 Palms Oasis

49 Palms Oasis

49 Palms Oasis

49 Palms Oasis

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About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

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