After a day of rest we made the trip to Joshua Tree National Park, a place we had been wanting to go for a couple of years. Our park is situated in kind of a bowl, so everywhere we wanted to go entailed a trip, however long or short, up over the mountains. This was no exception. As we neared the park entrance, we passed through a little town appropriately named Joshua Tree. First stop was the visitor center, where we obtained a map of the park and a few brief instructions. We were amazed at how large it was. 790,696 acres, with many hiking trails and 4-wheel drive roads. Since we were not prepared to spend that many days, we decided to just drive the main road, check out the campgrounds and get in what hiking we could. Two distinct ecosystems intersect within the park, the Mohave Desert and the Colorado desert. Of course there were many Joshua trees, but there were also great heaps of granite rocks. This is a popular area for rock climbers, and many could be seen as we drove through the park.
The length of our drive took us all day as we stopped for many pictures and drove through all the campgrounds. Sadly, most of the campgrounds were suitable only for tents or small trailers. Our only option would be to dry camp on BLM land near one of the entrances to the park.
Near the southern entrance to the park we met with another surprise, a grove of teddy bear cholla. It was interesting to see so many of them together. I had to caution Don to watch where he placed his feet since he tends to attract those things! But we made it out safely and I even got a picture of one of the blooms.