The Joshua Tree

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End May 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It was a long drive in the night.  Cool and exhausted we slept soundly.  By the morning we had already begun to feel the baking heat from the Colorado desert.  We made our way to its heart, the Joshua Tree National Park.
Immediately, it struck me that the harsh conditions were not so desolate as I imagined.  Life was all around us, it just took some looking.  Insects, lizards and small mammals made their homes under our feet and hid from the heat of the sun while ravens hung by the desert winds.  As the heat built we moved northwards towards the Mojave.  Subtly, the scenery changed.  The sparse weeds and shrubbery made way for cactii and the Seussian Joshua Tree.  These trees are the keys to survival in the Mojave.  Every part of the plant is used by other plants and animals to shelter, burrow and feed.
The day wore on and the heat drained us.  We walked a little to see what we could in the cactus gardens.  Soon the stones, wind and blistering heat was too much and we had barely progressed out of view of the road.  Knowing that we had a sure escape was the only comfort.  Imagine those frontiersmen who had already braved the rapids of the Mississippi and then scaled the mighty Rock Mountains.  Here after months of trekking they would only find this - endless arid desert.  Brave or stupid? Sometimes that's a difficult distinction but they certainly had some deep fortitude to tough this land.
As the light faded the life began to return against the shadowy backdrop of boulders.  The beauty of the land became more apparent - life would prevail over elements.

As we drove off toward our next destination, we passed by an odd sight - an original London Bridge over Lake Havasu.  Complete with period detailing and a nearby British village it was a bizarre contrast.  I wondered why anyone would do this.  Perhaps after conquering such an inhospitable land, anything goes.
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dodgy on

Just randomly stumbled across your blog. Very well written.

jizmo on


rob on

I wish American kids had your knowledge and curiosity about their own country. Hats off to you for Fallingwater, Pittsburgh and NYC. I took my son to all ogf the above this past summer. Not only do you know who Jeff Buckley was, but you visited the site where the Big Muddy swallowed him up. I haven't even done that. Very impressive young man.

jizmo on

Thank you for your very generous comment! Definitely a great country for exploring. Sometimes we forget that USA has contributed a great deal to what the rest of the world considers "culture".
Although, I have to admit I am far less well explored of my own country. I guess its easy not to appreciate what you already have. Kudos to you for showing your children such awesome things, they're getting a great start.

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