Greetings from Joshua Tree National Park

We arrived at our B&B in the darkness of a December night just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. As we entered the home, I noticed two nearby large Joshua trees glowing in the moonlight like phantoms of the ancient past. We couldn’t wait for morning to come when we would visit this national park in the high Mohave Desert of southern California. After a quick breakfast my family and I soon drove up to the huge, tan-red Jumbo Rocks where our two college-age grandchildren scampered right up to the top of these gigantic granite boulders high above a cluster of thirty-feet tall Joshua trees glinting under a bright desert sun. They reminded me very much of Soap Tree yuccas of New Mexico. The only difference between these two types of trees is a matter of height, Joshua trees being as tall as forty-five feet as opposed to the mere fifteen feet of their New Mexican cousins. My wife, Maura, and I took a little side trail down to a grove of these fantastic desert trees with their arms of pointy green yucca clusters stabbing the sky. The Joshua tree can live for several hundred years, and the oldest recorded Joshua has attained an age of one thousand years–not quite back to biblical times like their name of Joshua. Legend has it that early Mormon settlers noticed these trees with arms that seemed to point the right way just as Joshua pointed the way to the promised land for the Israelites. After our grand kids, Ross and Holly, had their exercise getting to the top of the highest rock, we all followed a trail to the Arch Rock a half mile away into the midst of this national park. Its giant bulbous base of granite stretched out to a curving thick arch under a bright desert sky, It was the extreme opposite of the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah. We all stood and stared in wonder in the dry desert air as though modern-day times had never really existed.

Joshua Tree


Joshua Tree National Park

This iconic park preserves portions of two spectacular desert ecosystems. The Colorado Desert in the eastern portion of the park features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo and cholla cactus. The higher, slightly cooler Mojave Desert offers dazzling vistas of Joshua trees and yucca. The vast park also contains spectacularly sculpted formations of a type of rock known as monzogranite and is a mecca for rock climbers around the world.

State(s): California

Established: 1994

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