Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park

We left Tapo Canyon on Sunday and drove to Joshua Tree National Park.  We stayed for three nights in Black Rock Canyon Campground , the only one that can accommodate rigs as big as ours.  The potholes getting in are absurd, but we  managed; it was a bit tight to maneuver in the campground, but again, we managed.  The site was crazily unlevel, but Steve did a great job leveling us.  The view, however, was great!  We were surrounded by Joshua Trees!

While we were here, the weather was fabulous!  Plenty of sunshine, reasonably warm, and yet not too hot.   Our first full day we hiked Hidden Valley, ate lunch at Quail Springs (too many honey bees interested in our jam), drove to Keys View (great view of the San Andreas Fault), and hiked Split Rock.  After leaving on our 2 mile Split Rock hike, Steve asked me if I had the keys to the truck.  My reply was, "No, of course not."  After all, I had not driven, and Steve had not given me the keys.  After returning from our hike, we discovered that our keys were resting nicely in the ignition, and while the doors were securely closed, they were unlocked.  Whew!!  So glad we didn't lock the keys in the truck, and so glad no one discovered our oops and thought our truck looked nice for the taking!
The line in the distance is the San Andreas fault.

On our second full day, we hiked Forty-nine Palms and the short 1/2 mile nature trail at Indian Cove.  The Forty-nine Palms hike is three miles roundtrip, and while the girls were grumbling a little about it in advance, they did awesome, and afterwards talked about how much they enjoyed it!
It was cool to see a real oasis.

The girls also all earned another Junior Ranger badge, patch, and a special bonus, a free children's book about Joshua Trees!  The ranger that gave them their badges had a great sense of humor and made the process more fun than usual.

This is definitely a neat park to visit.  I'd definitely come back & tent camp here, though you have to be mindful of the weather.  Of course, there are only pit toilets throughout the park, but they were kept very clean and didn't smell.  (Did ya hear that, Yellowstone???  It is possible to have nice pit toilets, after all!!)

The rocks are fun to climb on.
We ate lunch at this spot.   The weather was perfect!

The ranger we talked to said there were more injuries from plants than animals in the park.   This cactus is the biggest culprit.
Why the trail was named the "Split Rock" trail
Jake crawled through this rock from one side to the other.

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