Days 6 & 7: Joshua Tree National Park, California (Happy New Year!)

Self-portrait courtesy of our Honda's tilted hood.

We woke up Saturday morning and headed over to listen to a chat about coyotes after I whipped up some gourmet instant oatmeal for breakfast. The park ranger chatted for an hour or so and then we left for a moderate hike up to Mastadon Peak, with an optional rock scramble up to the summit. It was a fun trail that wandered through all sorts of funky rock formations, dry creek beds, and even an old gold ore mine. We then meandered down to an oasis called Cottonwood Springs that was full of these massive towering palm trees crowding around a small spring. Wandering around in the desert, even on a relatively safe blazed trail, the lack of water is disconcerting. Asides from the one spring and some water fountains at the welcome center, there is absolutely no water, anywhere. You crave water just staring at the unending waves of brown brush and sand.
Holly trekking through a desert wash.

There she is again, I think she is following me.

Minecraft, lulz. (This will make sense to very few people.)

Mastadon Peak. The scramble to the summit follows the broken rock up to the right.

Looking out over the high desert.

Cottonwood Springs Oasis.

Yet another dry creek bed.

Campsite 13B, Cottonwood Campgrounds. Our home away from home!

Zoom Zoom. Most of Los Angelas' eastbound flights pass over Joshua Tree, the sky is constantly crisscrossed with jet contrails.

Later that day we headed over to the northwest corner of the park where most of the rock-climbing the park is famous for is located, along with the park’s namesake tree, the Joshua Tree.
The ever-present Joshua Tree.

It's hard to make out, but there are some rock climbers rappelling off the small rock spire to the center-right.

After stargazing last night, we got up this morning and packed up our camp to move closer to the rock-climbing area to do some easy bouldering tomorrow, weather permitting. We spent today doing laundry and getting showers in town and hanging out at some of the local quirky joints, like the Crossroads Cafe.

Mileage: ~2300 miles driven.