I have a tendency to procrastinate, not the best trait, but every now and then it kind of pays off. I recently received an email from Shutterfly that photo books are up to 50% off, perfect timing; I have been meaning to put together photo books from some recent trips. By recent, I mean 8 months ago – stupid procrastination. So I sat down the other day and got to work, and was quickly brought back to one of the most amazing places I have seen, Joshua Tree National Park.
Last September C. Smith and I spend a lovely week in California. We spent part of the week in northern Cali sipping wine in Napa and hoofing the hills of San Fran. The other part of the week was spent in Southern California visiting with my extended family. It was so great to spend time with my sweet great Aunt Mary-Lou and my second cousins Charlie and Marcus. They were such gracious hosts and were willing to do anything we asked including spending a day driving to Joshua Tree.
Now let me back up here, I knew nothing about Joshua Tree, other than I have a framed album on my wall that bears the name. C. Smith is the true U2 fan in this relationship and he was the one who requested we make this trek.
When I say I knew nothing about Joshua Tree, I really mean nothing. I literally thought there was just one tree and we were going to have to search the park to find it. I was not going to go all that way and not see this tree, so I begun downloading maps of the park and did not understand why I could not find a single map with a giant “X” showing me where to find the tree. Turns out there is more than one tree; in fact there are many trees.
Entering the park was like nothing I had imagined, I felt like I was in a Dr. Seuss book. The trees were everywhere and so strange and beautiful at the same time. These “trees” are in fact part of the Yucca plant family and were dubbed Joshua Tree by Mormon settlers. They felt that the unique shape of the tree was reminiscent of Joshua raising his hands in prayer.
As we made our way through the park what really struck me were the rock formations. These giant piles of boulder perched precariously on top of one another seemed impossible to understand. Luckily my cousins are curious in nature and we stopped at a fact marker along the way that explained they rocks were formed millions of years ago due to cooling magma. Water them seeped into the joints and edges and eroded away the stones until smooth boulders were formed.
Because this was a day trip we decided to choose the route through the park that would take us on the 30 minute drive to Keys View. From there you can look out over the San Andreas Fault to the Salton Sea and inland salt water lake, and apparent vacation spot for my cousins when they were youngsters.
As we wound our way back through the park we were approaching mid day and the desert sun was in full effect. Yeah, I know it was dry heat and all, but it was still September, and it was still the desert, and I was getting hot (read: cranky). So we stopped for one last photo-op before making our way home for the day. Thanks to Aunt Mary-Lou and Charlie for indulging us in paying homage to Bono and the boys.