Cholla cactus wood wholesale in Los Angeles

Joshua Tree National Park Wonderland of Rocks Mojave Desert Desert Sonora Colorado Jumbo Rocks

The namesake: a particularly beautiful Joshua Tree (404kb).

Joshua Tree National Park is located in the southern California desert, 230 kilometers east of Los Angeles and nearly 90 kilometers northeast of Palm Springs. Every year over 1.9 million people visit this unique desert park with its rounded rocks, cactus gardens and palm oases. The park covers 2,250 square kilometers, more than 90% of which is classified as wilderness. It includes two separate desert ecosystems at different altitudes: the high Mojave Desert (up to 1,700 meters) and the lower Colorado Desert (from 300 meters), part of the Sonoran Desert. The name of the park is derived from the tree that characterizes the park, the Joshua Tree (Joshua tree or Joshua tree), which mainly grows within its boundaries. It is a tall plant from the genus Yucca in the agave family. This was first discovered in 1844 by the researcher John C. Fremont, who saw it as the "ugliest tree in the whole plant kingdom".

The name Joshua Tree was later given by a group of Mormons who crossed the Mojave Desert in 1850. The unique shape of the tree, with its thin branches pointing upwards, reminded her of the biblical story in which it is written in the book of Joshua: "You shall follow the path shown by the trees".

Joshua Tree National Park owes its existence to the ambitious Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, a Pasadena citizen who launched a campaign to protect the region in the 1920s. After many years of bureaucratic struggle, the area was finally declared a National Monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 10, 1936. In 1984 it became a Biosphere Reserve and eventually a national park with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act 1994.

Joshua Tree National Park (then still a National Monument) became known to the general public in 1987 when the rock group U2 released the hit album "The Joshua Tree", the cover of which shows an evocative black and white photograph of the landscape of the park and the distinctive trees.

Two deserts and two large ecosystems, the characteristics of which are primarily defined by the altitude, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. Located below 914 meters, the Colorado Desert, part of the Sonoran Desert, encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo and cholla cactus, opuntia and wig bushes. The higher, more humid and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua Tree, which can only be found in the northwest corner of the park. With its bizarre and overgrown branches, it forms a perfect contrast to the numerous, rounded granite rocks distributed in the landscape. But how did they come about?

An ocotillo in the southern park (344kb).

Geologists assume that the current shape of the park developed around 100 million years ago. At that time, liquid magma pushed upwards from the Pinto Mountain Fault running under the park and cooled around 24 kilometers below the surface of the earth. These deep rock inclusions consist of monzogranite. Horizontal and vertical cracks were created by numerous earthquakes in the following millions of years, but also by erosion of the 1.6 billion year old layer of gneiss above them. The penetration of water into these cracks led to the gradual transformation of the smaller boulders into sand and clay, which in turn increasingly ground the angular granite rocks into their current rounded shape. This all happened under the surface of the earth. Only when the arid climate set in and flash floods washed away the layer of clay did the rocks rise to the surface of the earth and deposit on one another.

In addition to Joshua Trees forests, the western portion of the park also includes some of the most interesting geological formations in the California deserts. Five Washington palm oases (fan palms) are spread across the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife is in abundance.

Another lonely Joshua Tree (398kb).

While it may seem lifeless at first, the desert offers a habitat for a myriad of living beings that become active in the evening and early in the morning. Coyotes can be seen on patrols near the park roads. American hares (jackrabbits) and the shy kangaroo rats (kangaroo rats) appear from their burrows in the evenings to forage. Bobcats are seen less often, but with a bit of luck a traveler can see the silhouette of a lynx against the moonlight. Birds in the park include the burrowing owl, vultures, golden eagle, and roadrunner. Lizards (lizards), tarantulas (tarantulas) and rattlesnakes can be found under the rocks.

The days are usually clear with less than 25 percent moisture. Temperatures are most pleasant in spring and autumn with an average of between 29 and 10 ° C. Winter brings cooler days with temperatures around 15 ° C and ice cold nights. It snows occasionally at higher altitudes. Summers are over 38 ° C during the day and hardly cool below 24 ° C until the early hours of the morning. The usual maximum daily values ​​are then 50 ° C.

The park can be reached from the west via Interstate 10 and Highway 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The two north entrances to the park are in Joshua Tree Village and the town of Twentynine Palms. If you are traveling to or from Los Angeles, it is best to drive through Joshua Tree National Park between these two entrances on the so-called Park Boulevard. This leads through the Queen and Lost Horse Valleys, past the fantastic granite formations of the Jumbo Rocks, through the Hidden Valley - a legendary hiding place for cattle thieves in the 19th century - and the Wonderland of Rocks, a popular climbing area. The south entrance in Cottonwood Springs, which is 40 kilometers east of Indio, can be reached from east and west via Interstate 10 and is actually only of interest if you are heading towards San Diego and the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The southern part of the park offers little worth seeing compared to the northern part. This street through the park is called Pinto Basin Road and meets Park Boulevard just before the Oasis Visitor Center at Twentynine Palms.

As in every national park in the United States, the Annual Pass, which grants free access, is also valid in Joshua Tree. Without this, you have the option of either buying an annual pass for the Joshua Tree for $ 30, a pass for a vehicle for 7 days for $ 15 or a walkin permit for $ 5, which is also valid for 7 days. The latter options, however, should only be seriously considered for tourists if they only spend the vacation in California.

The main roads through the park are paved and in very good condition. Several dirt roads can also be passable by cars, although all-wheel drive and high ground clearance are often required. If you are interested, you can ask the ranger stations about the current road conditions.

There are numerous trails all over the park. But you should always keep in mind that you are in a desert, even if you tend to forget this in an air-conditioned car. So if you want to get out and go on a short hike, even if it is only for 10 minutes, sun protection and, of course, sufficient drinking water is mandatory. If you have a mountain bike with you, you will find ideal conditions here - on the trails of course. Here, too, you should contact the rangers beforehand, because nature conservation is strictly monitored.

The park is one of the most popular climbing areas in the world, with more than 4,500 routes offering a wide range of difficulty levels. However, you have to note that there are strict regulations as to whether or not an ascent within the wilderness is allowed. Again, only consulting the ranger will help.

The strange shapes of Joshua Tree and the dramatic geology and desert landscape make the park a popular destination for photographers. As in many places, the best time to take photos is early morning and late evening. Then the desert floor is flooded by the red light of the low sun and everything seems mystical and unreal.

Services within the park are very limited, but food, gas, and supplies can be purchased outside the park. All three visitor centers have book stores selling postcards, posters and books of local interest. Water is available at all visitor centers and two campsites, and the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms also sells drinks. Cities outside the park boundaries offer additional options for refreshment. Otherwise there are no accommodations, restaurants or shops in the park. These can be found either north along Highway 62, or in the towns east and west of the park along Interstate 10.

However, there are many beautiful campsites within the park, but these often fill up just before sunset, especially on the weekends. Unfortunately, there have been no free parking spaces since 2005. The costs per night are very low. Most campsites have no running water and only chemical toilets, so they only cost $ 10 per site. Only Black Rock and Cottonwood have tap water with flush toilets, so they cost $ 15 a night. The Indian Cove Campground has a water connection at the ranger station. All campsites are open all year round and can be reserved through the national park administration. There are usually enough parking spaces available during the week, but not on weekends. You should also note that you cannot buy wood for the fire pits on site, but have to bring it with you.

Permits are required for backcountry camping and can be obtained at the visitor centers. Backcountry campsites must be at least one mile (1.61 km) from the road, 150 meters from any path, and 400 meters from a waterhole. To do this, you sign your name on one of the 12 backcountry boards, which are located at the starting points of most of the hiking trails, and leave the car behind. Camping in dry rivers (washes) is not recommended because of the potential risk of flash flood. These occur mainly in the eastern part of the park in the Pinto Basin. You have to take your own drinking water with you, as the natural water sources are limited and reserved for local wildlife. Open fires are also prohibited, and cooking should only be done with portable camping stoves.

By far the greatest danger in this park is the weather. Because of the desert location, it gets very hot during the day and temperatures can drop to freezing during the night. Hiking without adequate drinking water can lead to serious health damage after a short time. One gallon per person per day is the minimum recommended amount. Sunglasses protect the eyes from the brightness also emitted from the ground, clothing should be worn in layers. Be aware that even a tiny shower of rain can cause flash floods; Rocky gorges and drainage areas should be avoided in doubtful weather.

Other hazards within the park include rattlesnakes, abandoned pits, and the numerous prickly and thorny desert plants. In general, snakes can be avoided by moving carefully around the rocky areas and always looking carefully where you are stepping, holding on, or sitting down. If you still get to know a specimen you should stop and slowly move backwards away from the line. Abandoned mine shafts can be found all over the park, and while most have been sealed, there are still a few open that have not yet been properly secured due to a lack of funding. Most are more than 100 years old and extremely dangerous. Snakes, spiders, scorpions, water and poisonous fumes paired with rotten wood should urgently discourage you from visiting.

The jumping cacti are an inconvenience in the wilderness that tourists like to experience painfully due to a lack of previous knowledge. These are cacti, the prickly balls of which hikers seem to jump on as they pass and stick to them like burrs. The removal of the cactus ball is quite painful and sometimes bloody. To be on the safe side, you should keep a little distance from these cacti, which even the layman will recognize by their prickly clusters. Even more dangerous, however, are the rounded rock formations, which are inviting for climbing and from which tourists have to be freed again and again because they can go up, but can no longer find a safe way down. So if you want to climb such a rock, think about beforehand whether you would come down again. You hardly have any grip anywhere, and depending on your shoes, the rocks are slippery. The desert is not a good place to sprain a foot. Better to do without an admittedly great view and look for an easier path, i.e. rocks - or be content with the view from below.

The special thing about the Joshua Tree is the fact that you can experience the unique desert landscape up close like nowhere else. While in other desert regions such as Death Valley you only drive through most of the time and only make short stops due to the heat, thanks to the widely scattered granite rocks that are ubiquitous, especially in the northern part of the park, you can linger extensively under the open sky in the Joshua Tree. In the shade of the rocks you are protected from the blazing sun and can have a wonderful picnic on one of the numerous campgrounds. What you shouldn't miss is the absolute tranquility in the park. If you are lucky enough to be at Joshua Tree during the week, you should enjoy it and take a few minutes to yourself with yourself and the vast, untouched nature. This is really a unique experience that city dwellers in this country can experience between 2 and 5 a.m. at the most.

(c) Stefan Kremer - All rights reserved

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