Kevin and I slept in a bit after Saturday's long haul. With the M School scheduled for Monday, we had Sunday free to explore the area around Palm Springs. We narrowed our options down to two: visit Joshua Tree, or do the epic driving loop that is CA74 / CA243 around Mt. San Jacinto. Sara and I did both when we came in the Focus for Thanksgiving in 2020 - you can read the blog post here. You can't go wrong with either option, so when Kevin's girlfriend and her pup joined us for the day, we opted to visit the park.
Sonder the Cole - stupid name for a hotel, but good parking. The tidy little lot is just off Palm Canyon Drive but hidden from the main road.
This is where they produce the wind for all of California.
Kevin trying to talk down the $30 entry fee. When I came with Sara we entered from the south side and ended the day at the north exit; this time, we started north and made our way south.
Joshua Tree is my kind of national park experience - you can just drive through all of the beauty in a couple hours, or you can park and wander off into the landscape, passing as much time as you like.
On this particularly Sunday in January the park was not crowded, and the weather was beautiful. 70F and sunny while most of California was receiving record rainfall.
Joshua Tree national park covers the intersection of two distinctly different types of desert biomes: the Mojave desert (north side), and the Colorado desert (south side). The geography, vegetation, and plant life are unique in each area. The eponymous Joshua tree is exclusive to the Mojave desert side, and when you drive south through the park you'll notice that they simply vanish. You've reached the Colorado desert.
If you come to visit, don't miss Keys View. Palm Springs is at the base of Mt. San Jacinto, top-left in the photo above.
These next photos are from the Colorado desert (south) side of the park - notice the absence of the Joshua trees and boulder formations. There is a great cactus garden down in the basin.
Layering up some proper dirt.
Myself and Kevin, *exiting Joshua Tree National Park.
Next entry: M School and the drive home.
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