Joshua Tree National Park

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End May 31, 2009

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Where I stayed
Joshua Tree Cottonsprings Campground

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From the coast in the morning, I turned south and east, making my way through the labyrinth of Los Angeles County freeways till I found my bearing on the I-10 (yes, for those of us who grew up in southern California, the freeway numbers are always preceded by "the").  Suddenly, it seemed I was a thousand miles from the coast as the terrain grew desolate, brown and decidedly un-LA like.  Every town boasted several car dealerships, and hundreds of windmills covered the region - the wind was fierce and bounced the wagon about.

After a brief visit with the dino's, I pulled into the Joshua Tree National Park.  It takes a while to re-orient yourself to the nature of the deserts.  I found a spot and hit the trails.

I grew up near the ocean.  The ocean is a tidy spirit, always cleaning her beaches and pulling debris back into the depths where it belongs.  A human builds a grand sandcastle, and tomorrow she has cleared it away.  The desert is not tidy.  She embraces the circle of life, which includes death, and does not shelter visitors from the sight.  Things fall over and die in the desert.  Plants whither and fade, animals face extreme situations and she does not offer them any solace.  Survive if you can.

Spring had come to Joshua Tree, and although it was sparse, color was all around if you chose to find it.  I trotted down trails and around and back (getting a little lost), for about 5 miles.  The shadows were growing longer, and I was out of water (plus forgot my flashlight and hat), so I made my way back to camp. 

Four hours of hiking was enough for me.  The camp provided no services, so I was down with the sun and up in time for sunrise. 
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