Hot springs in the desert?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
40Trip End Jun 04, 2013
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Joshua Tree National Park
Coachella Valley is home to several communities, including the famous Palm Springs. Golf, wealthy retirees and Hollywood stars abound due to its closeness to Los Angeles, its favorable winter temperatures and those therapeutic hot springs. We quickly got into a daily schedule of homeschooling in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. Evenings were spent with the famous and rich, cavorting at expensive golf clubs and restaurants........yah, right
A quiet Christmas was spent at the trailer after a tasty Christmas Day meal at the Fantasy Casino. Still can't figure out how to decorate a cactus or palm tree!
Joshua Tree National Park was on the itinerary, so we managed to get into the park on three separate occasions. Once again the boys were able to complete their Junior Ranger badges, after several walks, hikes and Ranger-led activities throughout the park. Joshua Tree is special because here two different desert ecosystems converge. The Mojave (higher elevation, wetter and colder) desert meets the Colorado (lower elevation, drier and hotter) desert. The ensuing result is an incredible mix of plant life - yuccas, cacti - animal life and geological features. A rock climbing haven in the winter, boulder scramblers take advantage of the monzogranitic rock - granite rock formed from hot magma being cooled underground and then being weathered and eroded above ground, leaving heaps of boulders scattered across the land. Areas of ocotillo patches and cholla cactus gardens, along with Joshua Trees make for stunning landscapes.
Natural springs formed oases that lured Natives such as the Mojave, Chemuhuevi and Cahuilla, and later ranchers to the area. Keys Ranch was one of the only successful homesteads and visitors can still see how life was back in the early 1900s. The highlight of JTNP was our overnight primitive camping trip, wind and bees included! Nothing like camping under the stars in the desert and trying to avoid the thirsty bees during the day!!
After catching up on various housekeeping duties and meeting some really nice people in the Southern Desert, our time in California has come to an end and so we head East into Arizona. More desert but much different!
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