Our son Garrett is a Marine stationed at 29 Palms, California, and had been wanting to go on an adventure at Joshua Tree National Park, so we took the time to go visit him and the park over Labor Day weekend. It was definitely a big change of scenery from the San Juan Mountains!
Joshua Trees are the largest of the yuccas, and believed to have gotten their name from Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of the Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky while praying to God.
It rained on us a little while we were there, and the clouds provided some very welcomed cooler weather.
Rock climbing is also very popular here. It seems that every time I turned around Savanna and Garrett were up higher than I wanted them to be, like in the photo below.
The tiny red-spotted toads were hopping around all over the place after the rain.
There are petroglyphs in the park that were unfortunately "enhanced" with paint some years ago.
From a distance, the rock in the center looked like it should be named eye socket rock.
We hiked Ryan Mountain, elevation 5,467 feet.
There were beautiful views from the top of Ryan Mountain, although very different from the views on top of our mountains at home!
One of the most famous rocks in the park is Skull Rock.
We exited the park via the Geology Tour Road, and came out through Berdoo Canyon. Jay loves roads like this. It got pretty gnarly.
One last photo I had fun with playing with the colors and using the "heat map."