This was our first visit to Joshua Tree National Park, and we had a couple of experienced guides that introduced us to the park on these short trails.
Today we had plans to explore Joshua Tree National Park with some folks we hadn't yet met.
Rich & Kathy arrived at our dusty site around noon. Their website, "TrekWithUs.com", describes them as "location-independent professionals".
Rich & Kathy are veteran Joshua Tree NP explorers, and they had a couple of hikes already picked out. The volume of Joshua Trees increased quickly as we drove through. Eventually, we parked and started on the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, a one-mile loop.
It's a very nice walk through boulders among the native vegetation like the Creosote Bush, Teddy-Bear Cholla cactus, and Mojave Yucca.
The terrain almost looked like an artificially landscaped desert resort.
There were numerous dead tree photo ops, but I'll just post this one pic.
Here's Linda with our tour guides, Rich & Kathy.
We saw a covey of quail, but I was only able to snap this one quick shot as they scurried away.
This little trail epitomizes the natural desert beauty of the park, except that the Joshua Trees are scarce here.
Here's a view as we exited the trail heading back toward the parking lot ....
where the Joshua Trees are abundant.
From there we drove to another trailhead and walked the 1.1-mile Barker Dam loop.
Rich & Kathy said there is usually water in this area held back by the dam.
The water marks on the rocks were clear, but it didn't look like they had been wet for quite awhile.
From the dam, the trail looped back out through the Joshua Trees.
Soon, we came to a sign and a short spur to the Petroglyphs.
We always enjoy viewing rock art, so that was an unexpected surprise.
As I mentioned in a prior post, the Joshua Trees are technically not trees, but rather yuccas and members of the agave family. Legend has it they were named Joshua Trees by Mormon pioneers who equated the site of their limbs with the biblical story of Joshua reaching toward the heavens.
Here's a shot of Joshua Trees in various stages of development.
Though this isn't the time of the year for flowers, the winter desert still has beautiful, subtle colors.
Well, that completed a couple miles of hiking, really it was more of easy walks on popular, short loop trails. And they went by really fast as the conversation flowed freely as we walked.
We had a nice day and a good introduction to Joshua Tree National Park. Thanks Rich & Kathy.