Saturday, December 3, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park

Today was our friend Jim D's birthday, so we took a road trip to celebrate.  Really the ideal behind the whole trip was for Jim and Jerry to get their “Senior Pass” cards, which entitles them to free entry to all National and State Parks, Federal Gov’t and BLM sites, plus 50% discount on camping fees. 

A little history: Minerva Hoyt persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936. In 1994, as part of the California Desert Protection Act, Congress renamed the area Joshua Tree National Park. Due to Hoyt and others efforts, this park protects 794,000 acres – nearly three-quarters of it designated wilderness – where the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge.
Dust storm in Cali, who would have thought?

Senior Pass = FREE
 Aging gracefully, who would ever guess these handsome young men are old enough to get “Senior Pass”?  I guess aging has its benefits!!              

Pinto Basin Mountain - Colorado Mountains 

Joshua Trees - Mojave Mountains
Joshua Trees grow in higher elevation, so you have to get into the Mojave Mountains before seeing them in the park.
Skull Rock

Who Piled Up All Those Rocks?
The roads and trails lead you through a jumble of stacked boulders where you can use your imagination to see unlikely shapes.  The rock piles began underground eons ago as a result of volcanic activity.  Magma – in this case a molten form of the rock called monzogranite – rose from deep within the Earth.  As it rose, it intruded the overlying rock, the Pinto gneiss formation. 

As the granite cooled and crystallized underground, cracks (joints) formed horizontally and vertically.  The granite continued to uplift, where it came in contact with groundwater.  Chemical weathering caused by groundwater worked on the angular granite blocks, widening cracks and rounding edges.  Eventually the surface soil eroded, leaving heaps of monzogranite scattered across the land like careless piles of toy blocks.

Snow on top of Quail Mountain - Mojave

This is just the top surface of what Joshua Tree NP has to offer, hopefully our next visit we will be able to get off the black top and do some hiking.  Today was not the day as the temps ranged from 34-50 degrees and the winds were strong

The road goes on forever, but the breath taking views never end.  On the left side of road is the Sheep Hole Mountains and the right side is Coxcomb Mountains – Cali Hwy 62 heading toward Parker, AZ.

Another great adventure; hope you add Joshua Tree National Park to your travel list.             

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