In addition to all the breathtaking rock formations that
make Joshua Tree National Park
unique, there are also the park’s namesake trees. Although I know any tree is
unique, where I live many trees look similar enough that one would be very
difficult to distinguish from another. Each Joshua tree, however, really is distinctive, growing with a strange
and beautiful pattern of branches with bristles of short, palm-like fronds on
the ends. Unlike trees in dense, dark forests that keep sunlight from reaching the ground, the
sparse branches on these relatively short trees allow plenty of the desert’s
scorching sun through. If you think of trees offering shade, you won’t find it
in the Mojave!
Another remarkable type of vegetation we saw was the Cholla (also
known as jumping cactus). With plenty of alarming signs warning us of the
dangers, we treaded carefully through the Cholla Cactus Garden. The sharp,
pointy spikes covering the Cholla have barbs like fish hooks, so once they
get into your clothes or skin, they are very difficult to remove. A small piece
got stuck to Greg’s shoe, and he had to do a little jig in the parking lot to
get it off!
Unfortunately, we didn’t see nearly as much wildlife as I
had hoped. I saw a small lizard, a coyote and some large ravens; Greg saw a
jack rabbit, too. The most wildlife fun we had was when we spotted a relatively
friendly roadrunner in the park visitors center’s parking lot. Familiar to the
center’s staff, this particular roadrunner had occasionally wandered indoors
and was apparently used to being around humans. I followed him quietly around
the parking lot, sketching as I went.
|11/17/16 Pee Wee's dinosaur!|
Leaving this remarkable national park, we had one more stop
to make before heading home: Cabazon, Calif. What could possibly be the
attraction in this town just off the I-10? Pee Wee Herman’s dinosaurs!
Actually part of a creationist museum, the
dinosaurs appeared in the 1985 movie, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” Like all the
other tourists who made the same stop to take selfies, we pulled into the
parking lot and took our own.
|11/15/16 Cholla cactus|
|11/14/16 small Joshua trees|
|Jumping cactus tenaciously stuck to Greg's shoe!|
I is so strange that places have such unusual plantlike that isn't found elsewhere. Looks like you had such a fun visit!ReplyDelete
Yeah, those cholla are insidious! Great photo of the roadrunner.ReplyDelete
Very nice; glad I discovered your blog. Planning a sketching trip to Joshua Tree before the weather gets too warm. New to pen/ink/watercolor, so your images are very inspiring.ReplyDelete
Have a great time in Joshua Tree, Steve! It is a truly amazing landscape.Delete