Joshua Tree National Park – January 10, 2007
The Joshua trees could have come from a Dr. Seuss book featuring Horton the Elephant or Yertle the Turtle. You look at them and have to wonder what universe you are in.
We drive from the Salton Sea to the Cottonwood Spring at the south entrance in eastern California. Cottonwood Spring produces about 30 gallons of water an hour. It is the only source of water for many miles and helped support gold-mining operations in the area in the Nineteenth Century.
The southern half of the 825,000 acre Park is in the Sonora Desert. After about thirty miles of exploring vistas and exhibits the landscape transitions to the Mojave Desert and the Joshua trees.
The Cholla Cactus forest is right where the Sonora desert intersects the Mojave. If you touch one of them slightly you end up with a fingerful of painful prickers. They are said to jump out at you for this reason. They are also known as "teddy-bear" cactus. They grow where there is a seasonally plentiful supply of rainwater, in this case on the edge of a mountain slope, where, I suspect, rain is periodically produced by the adiabatic process. The Joshua trees are in the Mojave section of the Park.
On the way out of the Park, after driving 60 miles, we pass though the small town of Joshua Tree, where a disturbed 66 year old man gunned down an attorney, his wife and a bystander two days ago.
The city of Palm Springs has an incredible uncountable forest of windmills set up to catch the effect of the Ventura winds from LA. The air here at ground level is a thick, poisonous, impenetrable yellow smog from the big city 125 miles away.
Here are a bunch of pictures of dead Kangaroo Rats, Cholla cactus forests, Joshua trees, windmill farms and strange rock formations that resemble skulls.