Joshua Tree NP is a transition area between the Colorado and Mojave deserts. Elevation is what makes the difference in deserts. The Colorado desert is much like the Sonoran desert we just left; while the Mojave desert, western part of the park, is above 3,000 feet. Welcome to the home of the Mojave yuccas which Joshua tree is a member. It is an oddity as it isn't actually a tree. Like most desert plants, it has a flowering season, followed by seed pods. So, biological diversity rules. There is a transition zone where one is liable to see anything including the big horn sheep, mule deer, desert tortoise, cactus wrens, desert fan palms, etc. Geologically speaking the entire park is made up of and on volcanic activity eons of years old. The fan palm oases are a result of a crack in the earth's surface. When ground water hits a fault plane, it rises to the surface, creating conditions for an oasis. More boldly, the rocks display themselves as if one had lined them up like blocks. The granite boulders arose from below the surface again as a result of chaotic upheaval. I don't want to ignore the weather. As we ascended to 5,000 feet the temps descended 20 degrees. AND... guess what lies in the valley below? The San Andreas Fault! The miners got a piece of the action in this area, also. One can hike(minimum 2hrs one way, no trail) to view the abandoned mines. No thanks; rattlesnake bites to tourists are prevalent. Speaking of injury, the second most common injury is being stuck by the fish hook-like barbs of the chaillo(sp?) cactus. I hope you sense these travels are exhilarating to us. After enjoying a picnic lunch, we deserved a treat. Off to the Fantasy Springs Casino we went for prime rib and shellfish dinner. Groooaaan!!! Catch up with us tomorrow as we are going to the Salton Sea, +/-260 feet BELOW sea level. See you later!