The weather in Palm Desert continues to set records with most days in the past couple weeks topping out above 90. We have adjusted our plans to try to stay as cool as possible. Yesterday we decided to revisit Joshua Tree National Park. It is considered to be “the high desert” and most locations are around 4000 feet of elevation. Because of that it is usually 10-15 degrees cooler than Palm Springs area.
We knew the Joshua Trees were starting to bloom last week so we decided to take a trip up and see what else might be in bloom. While we didn’t see the mass blooms we saw at Death Valley we saw more variety of plants in bloom. In order to appreciate the spring blossoms you need to slow down the car, get out and walk the washes and look close. Most of the flowers are pretty small and you have to look closely to appreciate the beauty.
The 3 of us had a great time and found most of the blooms on the Cottonwood road on the drive back to the I-10. The Joshua Trees are still just starting to bloom as is the beaver tail cactus. The Mojave Yucca on the Cottonwood road is blooming as is the creosote bush. There many different small wildflowers in bloom and it was fun to look at the different colors and shapes. The scent was wonderful.
We have learned 2 things about National Parks in the the last week.
- Dogs- we knew that most national parks do not allow dogs on the trails. We just found out that dogs can walk with you on most dirt roads. This last trip into Joshua Tree they gave us a flyer about where to take your dog for a walk in the park. From now on we will ask at the gate if they have information about dog friendly activities.
- The Junior Ranger Program- We were given the junior ranger guide at Organ Pipe Cactus and we loved it. I asked at the visitor center at Joshua Tree if they had a Junior Ranger Guide. They did, and it was wonderful too. I learned a lot about the junior ranger program in this guide. I had no idea that all children in 4th grade can get a national park pass for the year. When a child at Joshua Tree completes the guide and turns it in, they get a junior ranger badge and 3-hours towards the national park badge for scouts. I think this is a great way to encourage families to get into the parks and take the time to learn about them. I will ask for these guides at each park. They have great information and ideas of fun things to do