Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Only 2.5 hours from LA is one of California’s nine national parks known for its unique looking trees. It’s a perfect destination for a short weekend trip. The park is located at the junction of three deserts: the Colorado (didn’t know there was a Colorado Desert before this trip :), the Mojave and the Sonoran. Each desert has its distinctive ecosystem. Joshua trees are more prevalent in the Mojave section on the north side.

Sunset

Joshua tree at sunset

6R8C5333

6R8C5295

Ocotillo plants and “jumping” cholla cacti are characteristic of the Sonoran desert in the south.

Cholla cacti in the setting sun

Cholla cacti in the setting sun

We entered the park around midnight through the south entrance. I’ve never seen such a bright night. The full moon was casting shadows on the ground!

Joshua tree at midnight

Joshua tree at midnight. I used a flashlight to add some light on the tree.

The moon was ginormous. Oh how I wish I had a telephoto lens!

The moon was ginormous. Oh how I wish I had a telephoto lens!

Joshua trees don’t grow branches until they bloom. So this must mean that the Joshua tree in the picture below was pretty old when it finally decided to bloom. The tree is 40 feet (12 m) high and it’s estimated that it’s over 100 years old.

Tallest Joshua tree in the park

Tallest Joshua tree in the park

After the rain we had a few weeks ago, I was hoping to see more flowers, but the blooms were few and far between.

Joshua tree about to bloom

Joshua tree about to bloom

Ocotillo plant flower

Ocotillo flower

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

Lonely blooming cactus

Lonely blooming cactus

This park is a favorite destination for rock climbers. We didn’t do any climbing, but I sure used the rocks as backdrop for tree portraits at sunrise :)

Joshua tree at sunrise

Joshua tree at sunrise

Early morning in the park

Early morning in the park

We are so lucky to live in a state with nine national parks. Quite a few of them are only a couple of hours of driving away. This one is definitely worth a visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>