Three hours from LA, situated in a desert landscape is a beauty that features Joshua trees. A Tree of Life, as it is locally known, Joshua trees can be found in abundance when you start moving towards the Mojave Desert.
It was past midnight until we reached our Joshua Tree national park. Situated in the middle of no where, Twentynine pines is the village where we decided to take a halt. Pin drop silence, pitch darkness and starry sky is how I would describe the night at Joshua Tree National Park. If temperatures permit, I would strongly urge to set up a tent and camp inside the park. Campsites are alongside big boulders and one would get to see the picturesque night landscape that every photographer and artist craves for.
We started off early morning and visited the cactus garden first. This is a little out of way, but it features millions of cacti in one small area of the park. There are trails that traverse through the cacti leading to nearby hills. I could see a lot of cyclists going up and down the trails, reminded me of Aron Ralston from 127 hours!
As you start moving from the north entrance to the west entrance of the park, you can see thousands of Joshua trees on both sides of the road. The reason behind “tree of life” is well understood when you see such Joshua trees providing a little shade in otherwise miles and miles of barren, parched land.
We did not know about the Skull Rock until I saw a big alien skull on my right side while driving inside the park. This natural rock is of the shape of a huge skull with clearly marked eye cavities. That particular area is full of enormous rocks and boulders (and after seeing the skull rock, you want to make up something of every other big rock you see).
Barker dam was our next stop. We did an hour long hike here which basically circumscribes the dam. The dam was basically a water storage facility of early cattlemen. On the trail there are rocks where you can see native American petroglyphs. That was cool.
Another popular vista point in the park is the Keys view point. This is the tallest point in the park from where you can get a good view of the entire desert and surrounding mountains. You can hike to that point, but if you are pressed in time, driving up there makes more sense. There is also a geological trail featuring various rock formations and flora of the desert, but this trail needs a 4-wheel drive vehicle, hence we were not able to do it. May be next time..
If you are a person who can appreciate the beauty of desert, Joshua tree national park should be on your list. I would go camping there, take my bike and cycle through the entire park. Be sure to carry enough water with you and fill your car with gas before you enter the park!