If you’re looking at that and thinking “hey, that looks like a lot of mountain to climb,” you’re right! It is a lot of mountain to climb, and from that angle, you can’t see the half of it. (Literally.)
It’s an interesting hike, in three sections – the woodsy bit at the bottom, the bouldering bit in the middle, and the ash fields at the top.
This last photo was from the bouldery bit, but you can see a wash of the ash fields extending down in the back there.
But now, dear reader, I must admit to you that I didn’t make it to the summit; I got as far as the ash fields and realized that, if I tried to continue on to the top, I’d wind up replacing my “I went on a cool hike!” story with an “I went on a ride in a Forestry Service rescue helicopter” story.
One day, I’ll be back. And hey, it was a cool hike! Anywhere with signage like this is going to be a cool hike.
Joshua Tree National Park has been on my ‘places to visit’ list for quite a while. Honestly, I’m not sure how it wound up there, but I’m happy it did – from what I saw, it’s a pretty cool place.
(I was told by a friend that you should really try to stay for the whole day, especially sunset, and just see what it all looks like with different lighting conditions, but unfortunately wasn’t able to do that this time; next time, though…)
The park was established in the 1930s by FDR. At the time, the Works Progress Administration – among other things – was running a poster campaign intended to inspire the American people, I believe along the lines of ‘look at all this neat stuff our country has!’
As far as I can tell, Joshua Tree didn’t get any of those posters, unfortunately; something about the federal government very busy all of a sudden.
A lot of the posters that were produced are lost now, more’s the pity. It was an interesting aesthetic, and I’m a big fan of the whole “advertising for the national parks” thing.
Fun fact about the Joshua Tree: they don’t form rings in the way that other trees do; when scientists want to figure out how old one is, the preferred method is to measure the height, then divide by the species’ average growth rate.
The moral of the story here is that our national parks are a treasure, and we should continue to support them. (And expand them! Write to your congresspeople about it.)