Funny that I grew up in San Diego, but never made it to Joshua Tree National Park. It's really not crazy far from my childhood home - maybe a few hours drive. Go figure. But anyway, I finally found myself there over the holidays. It's actually pretty close to Palm Springs, and my in-laws live in Indio. When Josh and I were visiting for Christmas they took us on a day trip to the park.
One great thing was that it was sunny and warm...in the winter! Getting some Vitamin D is always a good thing. So it already had that going for it as we entered the park. Then, I knew I'd like it when all these funky "trees" started appearing. Not just one, but miles of them.
The reason for the quotations around "tree" is that Joshua trees are not our typical tree. It belongs to the Yucca family. I'm not an expert on these trees, so I'd hate to mis-inform you. If you really are interested in what the heck they are, go to Wikipedia.
I learned a fun fact from my in-laws as we were driving around the park. The name Joshua Tree comes from the Mormon settlers in the 19th century who were crossing through the dessert. They thought they trees were raising their arms up to the sky to pray like Joshua in the Bible.
Besides Joshua Trees, there are a lot of boulders and rocks at the park. For this reason, there are a lot of rock climbers. There is a climber on practically every large boulder. We did a little rock climbing ourselves. But not with ropes and harnesses - just on large rocks.
But just sitting on the rocks suited us fine.
We did some small hikes at the park as well. One was to Skull Rock. A very clever name for a rock that looks like a skull.
There was also a view point out into the valley below where you see Palm Springs, and the San Andreas fault (yikes!). Luckily, no major earthquakes while we were there (whew). But you can totally see how the land has been pushed up.
It was a great day at the park. Sunny, Beautiful, and good company. Can't beat that!
For more pictures, go to my Winter 2013 album (just scroll down the page to Joshua Tree).