Joshua Tree National Park

joshua tree np  008joshua tree np  013joshua tree np  003joshua tree np  005We spent an afternoon at Joshua Tree National Park.  The park is named after the Joshua tree, which is a species of yucca, and is abundant there.  And it is yet another beautiful desert landscape.

The park protects 794,000 acres, much of it in the overlap between the Colorado and Mojave deserts.  This means that species from each of those desert ecosystems inhabit the park.

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The Western half of the park, the Mojave desert habitat, above 3,000 feet, is where the Joshua trees are found.  In this half, there is also hedgehog cactus, juniper, prickly pear cactus and black-tailed jackrabbit, desert spiny lizards and desert woodrat.joshua tree np  004

The Eastern half, the Colorado desert habitat, below 3,000 feet, is part of the much larger Sonoran Desert, where we spent some time this winter in Arizona.  Here there is ocotillo, palo verde, brittlebrush, pencil cholla and kit fox, kangaroo rat and zebratail lizard.joshua tree np  001joshua tree np  011

joshua tree np  009joshua tree np  015joshua tree np  012The transition zone between both deserts has bighorn sheep, cactus wren, greater roadrunner, Gambel’s quail, desert iguana and desert tortoise.  There are rattlesnakes in both deserts, though they are different types.

We spent the afternoon in the Western half of the park, since we wanted to see the Joshua trees.  Although we missed the peak desert flowers, there were still some flowering cacti.  And the Joshua trees were very cool.

We didn’t see much wildlife, just quail and a few lizards but we did have a chance to watch a beautiful moon rise that evening.  It was the night before the full moon, so there was a big, bright lovely moon rising through a slightly hazy sky, no doubt a result of sandstorms the day before.joshua tree np  017

We stayed until after dusk.  The park was pretty quiet, but after dusk it seemed that there was no one there but us.  But we spotted a few “astronomers” by the side of the road waiting for the lunar eclipse, which was supposed to take place around midnight.joshua tree np  021joshua tree np  019joshua tree np  018joshua tree np  020

joshua tree np  023That night after Hector went to bed I stayed up to watch the lunar eclipse.  I wanted to see the “red” moon.  But at one in the morning, all I saw was the sun blocking the moon and no red, just a slightly grey tone.  So I decided to go to bed.   I was looking forward to seeing the full moon the next day over the desert.  But it was not to be.

~ Brenda

12 thoughts on “Joshua Tree National Park

  1. I missed the lunar eclipse too as a storm was raging then at that time,
    Coming from CA Im sad to say we have never been to Joshua Tree National Park. I guess it is always overlook with the more popular ones around. Ill be happy for now to see your beautiful pictures.

  2. Desert looks so dry!!! Great pics and description of course.

    I saw t he eclipse from Miami and it was spectacular!!! Bright red and a clear, cloudless sky!

  3. Love Joshua Tree desert! I set my alarm for the lunar eclipse and did see the brick red hue. I plan to post a pic of it in my next post about Moab Utah. Your photos are fabulous as always!

  4. Love the moon and desert together! Beautiful post you two. We stayed out to watch the eclipse and although we feel asleep on and off throughout, it was a nice spectacle.

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