Joshua Tree National Park, February 7 to 11, 2022

We flew in an airplane
with a lot of other people,
with masks on, 
south to Palm Springs, 
looking out and down the whole way…
From Palm Springs, we drove west,
tracing the San Andreas Fault,
then north through the Morongo Valley, 
then east to Twenty Nine Palms.
We hiked in Joshua Tree National Park, 
where Cretaceous monzogranite has intruded into Precambrian Gneiss. 
Movement along the plate boundary (San  Andreas Fault System) that defines this topography has shattered the rocks with orthogonal cracks. 
The granite has been rounded and transformed into great piles of boulders by the elements. 
We walked dry canyon mazes while anthropomorphic faces in the rocks watched us. 
Joshua trees posed on the skyline, 
witnesses to the dry open skies, 
and the battering winds, 
of the high Mojave desert.

2/7 – Hidden Valley Loop

An excellent introduction to the plants and rocks.

2/8 – Panorama Loop, Black Rock Canyon

6.7 miles and 1150 feet, a lovely loop through the Precambrian gneiss at the west end of the park.

2/9 – Several short hikes and viewpoints

Keys View:

Looking across the the San Andreas Fault and Coachella Valley, toward snow-covered Mt San Jacinto and Mt San Gorgonio.
Looking farther southeast, to the Salton Sea.
Coachella Valley highlights. It was too windy to stay long at the viewpoint, so instead of hiking here, we visited several other viewpoints and short trails in the park.

Cap Rock:

Oyster Bar:

Hall of Horrors Trail:

Skull Rock Trail:

Cholla and Ocotillo on Pinto Basin Road:

We drove to the lower desert to see my old friends from the Sonoran Desert…

Split Rock Trail:

Sunset views:

2/10 – Willow Hole Trail and The Oasis of Mara

A seven mile round trip hike to Willow Hole in the Wonderland of Rocks…

Oasis of Mara Visitor Center, Twenty Nine Palms

As travelers from the gray wet skies of the north, 
we offered up all of our surface moisture to the desert  air.
It felt good, but also exhausting.

After four days we were desiccated, 
wind blown, tired from hiking, 
filled by immersion in scenery that continues beyond us in scope and time. 
We returned home to the Pacific Northwest, much refreshed.
Note - This is my first post using the "new" block editor - I'm still deciding if I like it. 

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