Monday, March 25, 2013

Joshua Tree National Park, Monday, March 25, 2013

Today we spent the day in Joshua Tree National Park.  Our first stop was at the Oasis Visitor's Center of the Park, about 2 miles from the campground, where we picked up some information about the park.  This park named for the unique trees that grows here also has some interesting rock formations.  There are what appears to be piles and piles of rocks as well as monolithic formations.  Our first stop was at a formation called skull rock that had the appearence of a huge skull and is amongst "Jumbo Rocks". 
Moving on we stopped at a parking area for Barker Dam.  From this parking lot there were 2 areas to hike to, Wall Street Mill and Barker Dam.  We first hiked the 2.2 mile trail to Wall Street Mill, an old stamp mill used for procuring gold and silver up until 1966.  Then we hiked the 1.1 mile trail to Barker Dam, a dam that was built to contain water for horses and cattle that were corraled in this area.  
At this point we were ready for lunch but so was everyone else.  The picnic areas were filled with no available parking.  We found a parking area for a trailhead that had parking available for us to sit in the car and eat our lunch. In this area there were some big monlithic rocks that numerous people were rock climbing.
Our last hike was a mile hike into Hidden Valley, an area with some varied vegetation in the center of a ring of huge rock piles.  We saw a snake slithering across the desert, got a picture of him but didn't try to figure out what kind of snake he was. The Joshua trees are in bloom at this time.  Birds seem to enjoy sitting on the blooms and picking at the florets.  The weather has been just about perfect, bright sunshine but temperatures in the low 80's and a cool breeze gently blowing nuch of the time.  It does get cold at night- this morning it was 47 degrees.