Our last excursion in the US was to see our Heather’s new geodesic dome house in the desert, located just outside the little town of Joshua Tree. Along with Romeo, the lovable Bull Terrier, Miro and I piled into Heather’s car and headed east of Los Angeles, towards the desert.
Growing up in California, I spent the majority of my time in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, I had never visited California’s Mojave Desert, not even once. Miro and I were very excited to see this part of California, see Heather’s new unique geodesic domed desert retreat and as a special bonus spend some time in the desert before we returned to Peru.
Heather’s new house was amazing. Not to mention, the town of Joshua Tree was artsy and quaint, offering several health-food restaurants to choose from. Miro and I agreed, we could both comfortably spend a few weeks in this desert oasis…and that was even before we visited the national park.
Joshua Tree National Park
After a peaceful night at the dome we woke early the head into the national park for some exploring. The Joshua Tree National Park, located in the Mojave features over 800,000 acres of beautiful wilderness, natural reserves, and as the name suggests, gorgeous groves of Joshua Trees, reminiscent of Dr. Suess characters and Star Trek landscapes. The unique scenery challenged my senses, offering multi-colored irregular peaks, lined with granite hills and enormous boulders which invited the thrill seeker in the three of us to climb some rocks and explore.
Two Ecosystems – One Park
I learned that two, very large desert ecosystems converge inside this remarkable park. The eastern part of Joshua Tree National Park is encompassed by the Colorado Desert and sits at three thousand feet below sea level. This portion of the park showcases many different types of cacti, a wonderful assortment of palm trees, and multiple species of wild flowers.
The western end of the park features the Mojave Desert. Much closer to sea level than the Colorado Desert, the Mojave Desert portion of the park is where the world-famous and ancient Joshua Trees live.
The Extraordinary Joshua Tree
As the name suggests, the park is full of Joshua Trees. The best way to describe a Joshua Tree is to think of a tree in a Dr. Seuss illustration. These trees are spiky and twisted and blooming with personality. With a dagger-like spine, a hiker who gets to close can find themselves painfully pricked by these diverse trees. I never get tired of looking at them, as each one is so unique in nature and shape.
In the past, Native Americans in Southern California, heralded these trees for the useful properties. For example, these trees were used to create baskets and sandals, while the tree’s flower buds proved to be a healthy addition to their diets.
Miro, Heather and I spent the day hiking through the National Park, exploring the natural structures, climbing rocks and being silly. The scenery was breathtaking and there was never a moment of boredom for any of us.
If you are in the Southern California area, then you should definitely take some time to visit the Joshua Tree National Park. It is a great natural resource, and it is a great way to slow down and escape the buzz of city life.