Another rewarding but long day trip: this time to the north side of Joshua Tree National Park. It was still cool after all the rains – the Pineapple Express that hit southern California. The sky was clear and we were ready to explore.
These are giant rocks! Monzogranite. A ranger explained later on a walk we did that they were at one time so far underground it would be as if we were standing on a airplane contrail looking at them. That was an interesting visual analysis, especially as we looked up and saw a plane going overhead leaving the white trail. We thought of our neighbor Philip with this formation 😉
Joshua Tree is a type of Yucca and there are Mojave yuccas.Â There are many varieties of Opuntias:The Beaver Tail is the one without spines, just glaucoids – they have the more purple color pad with fushia flowers in the spring. There are pancake opuntias which grow taller like trees. And then there are Prickly Pears which are the opuntias with spines and a yellow flower. There are also a variety of chollas which are a type of opuntias. And then there is a Henry O’Puntia 😉
The ranger said it is a bit unusual to have water at the Barker Dam. We did not see any of the desert tortoise but they like to come out when it rains. It got very overcast and the wind picked up and we were quite chilled. Everyone on the ranger walk had on hats, gloves, and coats. Definitely cooler in this higher elevation: this part of the park being in the Mojave Desert.
The large cholla cactus garden is in the transition zone between the Mojave and Sonoran desert. This was really a special place to experience: these are the teddy bear or jumping type. I had never seen so many at one time – really worth stopping and taking a look. Thanks Maria for the recommendation to go at sunset though it had clouded over a bit but still more of a glow than at mid day.