Sunday, March 04, 2007

Joshua Tree National Park

This weekend we travelled to the Joshua Tree National Park.

It was my idea. And my husband just played along. I had gotten a book recently from Barnes and Noble on the National Parks of US and while going through it, I realized that we were just a 2.5 hour drive from this park. So I waited eagerly for the right weather and some free time, and off we went.

From San Diego, we started early in the morning and reached the north entrance visitor centre at about 11 in the morning. To be honest, there was not much I expected - from the pictures in the book it was not a typical desert with sand dunes and unlike Rajasthan back in India, it did not even have forts to offer. It was more out of curiosity - after all the most scenic spots in US are preserved as National Parks.

When we finally entered the park and drove through the place, what greeted us totally took us by surprise. I am sure my husband shared my feelings - he mentioned he was glad to come to the Park after every 20-30 minutes.

As I mentioned, the vastness of the place totally took us by surprise. The stark browns against the clear blue skies were really pleasant to look at. A quick reading of the information at the visitor centre told us that the Park contained 2 distinct desert eco-systems out of the 4 major deserts in US - the Colorado desert at the lower elevations and the Mojave desert at the higher elevations.

Our first sight of the Joshua tree completely awed us. Not a typical tree loaded with leaves and not a typical cactus with stocky, green stems and thorns. They looked like a blend of both, with trunks and branches like those of trees and bunches of cactus on the tips of branches. Joshua trees were located in the Mojave part of the park, at higher elevations. And they were all around in that area. One of the strangest looking tree we had seen.

I need to write more on this trip, about the Colorado part of the desert, but thats for a later post.


Mridula said...

Glad you enjoyed the trip. The tree (at larger size) is like nothing I have seen before.

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Thanks Mridula. It is a strange husband read an interesting fact at the visitor center - that the tree is named so because the early mormon settlers thought that the tree was a sign from Joshua guiding them with upstretched arms to the "promised land"