Frankly, I don't care for the desert. I know that some people love looking at stark desert scenes, but they don't generally appeal to me. Instead, I get fairly frightened when I look out at the desert. You can freaking die of thirst in the desert. I'd rather not do that.
However, that said, there is beauty to be found in such places. Carole and I were both impressed with the views and the changing landscapes at we traveled around the park. I didn't get a lot of time to hike there, so we'll go back again some day and I'll make sure that I have more time to spend there hiking and scrambling around on the peaks. But I'll make sure that I go back in the winter, as I did this time. I have an aversion to suffering from dehydration.
The stream from the spillway from Baker Dam.
This was in a canyon area near Barker Dam. Wonderful scenery and lots of the Joshua Trees for which the park is named.
I took this one from a ledge above Keys Point, the highest spot to which you can drive in the park (about 5,100 feet above sea level). The San Andreas fault is plainly visible in the flatlands far below.
This is Ryan Mountain, the only mountain that I was able to hike in the park. On a cool day it's an easy 1.5 mile hike to the summit.
View along the road as we entered the southern and much drier section of the park.
This was a vast stand of Cholla cactus. The woman who described these plants to us at the visitors center had both Carole and me scared witless of them by the time we reached the trail through the cholla cactus garden. We hiked through it, but were pretty careful along the way. We avoided the spines.
Not long before we got to the end of our drive. The scenery was hideously arid.
Carole hiking toward a moist area of the park that supports a small oasis. There is a spring here which doesn't quite reach the surface, but which provides enough moisture for these enormous California fan palms.
This was the last spot where we stopped before leaving the park. If I go back, I've vowed to climb the mountain on the left of the photo.