Friday, January 30, 2015

Joshua Tree

One of the things John and I did when we were out in California in December was go to Joshua Tree National Park.  We attempted to do so back in May, but it was super hot, even for the desert, and we weren't quite prepared.  We still didn't quite know what the park was like, but John got some good pointers from a co-worker, and so we headed out for a Saturday of exploring.  We went to four different areas, and each one was a totally different landscape - it's amazing how much variety was there.  The first hike we went on was in Rattlesnake Canyon, which was basically just full of huge boulders, so our first hike ended up being more rock climbing.  I'm not a huge fan of heights, but I was proud of myself for clambering around.

We went all the way up to the top of the peak in the middle of this photo.

The second hike we went on was about 15-20 minutes away, and was more towards the interior of the desert, of which the main feature was the Skull Rock.  It was much flatter overall, and there was a lot more plant life around.

Next we headed further into the desert and finally got our first look at the Joshua trees.  It really looks like a landscape straight out of Dr. Seuss.  We went to a wash, and saw some actual wildlife.

After popping over a slight ridge and around some trees, I jumped a little when I saw one of these long-horn sheep standing about 20 feet away, staring straight at me.  I then laughed, because it wasn't moving, and I somehow figured it was a statue.  Then it moved, and I jumped again.  :)  There was a group of about eight of them, and I was convinced they were some sort of aggressive antelope that was going to attack us, but John kept stalking them and I kept telling him to get back.  We eventually figured out they were sheep, not antelope.

After the wash, it was heading towards evening, so went went to an overlook of the Coachella Valley to watch the sunset.  As all the smog from LA basically heads straight for the valley, it wasn't quite as impressive as I thought it might be, but it was a neat view.

We then waited around for a while for it to get dark and check out view of the stars.  It was freezing, so we didn't stick around long, but it was a good end to an interesting day.

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