California Dreaming – Day 23, Joshua Tree, California

After 2 rainy, cloudy days March 14 was finally sunny enough to tempt us back to hiking. We had not yet headed into the full depth of Joshua Tree National Park and with the future of our stay unknown we decided to head back into the park while we still could.

To date we had only experienced the Mojave desert section of the park. As you head south easterly, deeper into the park you cross into the wholely different zone of the Colorado desert. The Joshua trees give way to a wide variety of different flowering plants and cactii. 2 distinctive cactii are the Cholla, or teddybear, cactus and the Ocotillo cactus. The Cholla look like small furry trees, and Ocotillo are tall and airy. We stopped at patches of both and were fortunate that some varieties of cactus were even in bloom due to the recent rain. Many more were just budding, and in a week or so the desert would be bright with flowering cactii.

Also on route to the very southern section we stopped for a hike into an old abandoned mine along Black Eagle Mine Road. The flowers on this section were widely varied and colourful, but mostly small and dainty, I suppose due to the dry climate.

Our hike from the Cottonwood Spring centre took us to the Lost Palms Oasis with it’s cottonwood and enormous palm trees. The oases form over the cracks in the Earth’s crust allowing groundwater to rise to the surface and nourish a wide variety of trees, plants, animals, and even orchids. So glad we made it to this section of the park at least once.

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