I was out at first light, walking the resort for over an hour and determined to find a road runner for a photo shoot. We ALWAYS see road runners here in the mornings, but thus far, none. Maybe Wednesday will be the day. (Or is it Thursday….I keep getting the days mixed up.)
|Mona, Monte & Aleta at JCs|
locals and celebrities. The walls are lined with photos and autographs from big name stars and politicians. We’ve never seen any of them, we just come for the breakfasts. My favorite is the Machaca Scramble, eggs scrambled with beef with a picante sauce on top, served with fresh sliced tomatoes and wheat toast. Yum!
|Piece of Art on El Paseo
Titled Ascension – Can you tell why?
|El Paseo Storefront|
|More Street Art
There are about 50 pieces
along El Paseo
|Chuparosa in bloom|
We enter the park while in the Colorado desert, the low desert. The is the desert that we’ve been living in for the past two weeks. Lots of creosote bushes, ocotillo cactus, and many types of yucca and agave. We’re in luck as many of the plants are in bloom, something we haven’t seen before. This is truly beautiful and exciting and we try to get good pictures of each species. Note: we do this while treading carefully; there are six species of rattlesnakes in this park, including two types of sidewinders. We’d love to see one, but at camera 3x distance…instead of short stick distance like last time!
|Blooming Teddy Bear Cholla See the blooms?|
|LOTS of Cholla!|
We wander through the garden being very very careful not to brush up against these beauties. We learn that this area happens to be the perfect ecosystem for these plants and they have taken over these many acres for hundreds if not thousands of years. Many animals, other than humans, find these cacti to be very hospitable and make their homes here, most notably the Cactus Wren. Unfortunately, none of these animals was willing to have their picture taken.
|40′ Joshua Tree – About 800 years old|
Onward and upward we go…we’re climbing into the San Bernadine Mountains and as we approach the 4000 foot elevation we see very noticeable changes in the plants. Very few cholla now, no ocotillo….and soon we see the emergence of the oshua Tree plants…namesake of the park.
|Another Joshua Tree|
|Budding Joshua Tree|
How to describe a Joshua Tree…hmmm, let’s start with tall. These giants of the Mojave Desert rival their Sonoran cousins, the saguaro, for height…reaching heights of 40 feet or more. Considering that these plants grow at a ½ inch a year that means that these giants are about 800 years old. Okay…we’ve got tall as a descriptor…should we next say graceful? There are indeed some graceful and majestic Joshua Trees to be seen. But wait, look at that one…I think it came from my last nightmare! I guess the best way to describe these plants is to say that they are large agaves, growing to over 40 feet, with dagger-like spines and usually topped with bunches of green daggers. There are thousands upon thousands of these giants throughout the Mojave and they make this desert like no other in the world.
Rocks, have I mentioned rocks? This park has rock piles which look like building block toys of giants. Some of the rocks are a few feet high, and some are hundreds of feet and people come from all over the world to climb them. No climbers today in these 25 mph winds!
These amazing piles of rock were formed by volcanic granite, pushed up from the magma close to the earth’s surface. Wind and rain wore away the surrounding earth and exposed these multicolored rocks for us to see.
Bernardino Mountains at 29 Palms. As we descend we begin to be buffeted by high winds. The weather forecast was for dangerously high winds and the forecast was spot on. Sustained winds at 37 mph with gusts up to 55 mph. We now have to drive all the way around the western end of the San Bernardinos, cross the San Andreas fault and re-enter the Coachella Valley from the west through the San Gorgonio Pass. Normally, this is a nice little 40 mile drive, but the high winds make it a challenge, which luckily, Monte is up to.
Sand is blowing and drifting like snow in a midwester blizzard. People are running to get from their cars to their doors. We catch a glimpse of Pooh Bear, tumbling along like the tumbling tumbleweed. We come into Palm Desert with a 50 mph tailwind. Great gas mileage, but not a good day for the cookout we had planned. We head to Morton’s for dinner…stopping a bit for geocaching along the way. Busy day and we hadn’t geocached until now. Gotta keep that streak going!
stories. Great way to end the day!
A couple more pics. These tiny desert clovers are only about three inches tall and I couldn’t get a picture to do them justice without laying down…and umm, well, you know, that wasn’t going to happen!
|I love Cholla, but as Bette Midler sings,
“From a distance!”
|Big Rocks, Rock!|