So … why is this a national park?
Stalking the National Parks
Our national map started with the 62 national parks as tentpole destinations, the cornerstone locales around which we’ve oh so vaguely hung the lattice of our route. And we continue to plan around those national parks as we look ahead. For example, when we were able to snag an elusive campsite at Yosemite a few weeks ago, we inked in our calendar for February 28 – March 3 there, and all of our planning since then has revolved around that time slot.
Likewise at Joshua Tree. A couple months ago we were able reserve four days in great weather at a seldom-available campground. And around those days we planned our November route all the way from Zion – through Lake Mead and Lake Havasu, snaking south and west across Nevada, Arizona, and California.
To find, here at Joshua Tree National Park … very many odd trees. (Not trees, actually; they’re yuccas, but let’s not quibble).
Very Odd Indeed
These trees are very odd indeed: Seussian, Escheresque, as if designed by Timothy Leary and Pablo Picasso’s love child. These trees curl upward in exultation and downward in mourning and spin sideways like dervishes.
They are odd and there are many of them: plains of them like drunken soldiers. Mountainsides of them. The size of Rhode Island of them. Miles and miles of desert, punctuated only with disorderly trees in orderly spacing. Here’s us driving through a very small subset:
Lots of odd
Which is cool. We appreciate these wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men frozen in bark and fronds. We do. They’re neato.
Or You Could Do This
And to be fair to Joshua Tree, it may just be that the romance of the desert has faded for us. We’ve admittedly overdosed, granted.
But still. Some National Parks deserve destination status: travel across the country for these. Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce, plenty more. But for us, we have to acknowledge, not Joshua Tree.
If you’re near Palm Springs, then by all means make a day of standing among these dizzy, desert sentinels yourself. But if not, just put on this album, sit under a sunlamp, and spend a few hours drawing infinitely smaller and crinklier green and brown fractals until your eyes seize up. You’ll walk away with the same memories.