Nine days in Joshua Tree National Park

Claret cup cactus near Barker Dam. (Photo credit: Susan)

After reprovisioning at Lake Cahuilla County Park (outside of La Quinta), we drove up to one of our favorite places on the planet: Indian Cove campground in Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed at Indian Cove last year and loved it so much that we wanted to come back this year for an extended visit. We stayed for nine days (eight nights), and could have spent quite another week in the area. The weather was perfect, not too hot, with much less wind than Anza-Borrego (and Lake Cahuilla), and beautiful nights.

The Escape snuggled into its camping spot for the week.

As in Anza-Borrego, Joshua Tree was afire with wildflower blooms. We ran into many of the same plants we found earlier, including claret cup cacti, barrel cacti, and more, but we also found a few new ones.

We did lots of hiking—short ones and some of Susan’s trademarked day-long hikes through the desert—and saw not only flowers, but bighorn sheep, plenty of happy rabbits and even a desert tortoise hanging out under a bush. (Alas, no photo of the sheep—they moved very fast up the mountain side.)

There were lots of photo opportunities in the park, especially with the Joshua trees at sunset.

On our last full day in Joshua Tree, we decided to hike up to the top of Ryan Mountain, one of the highest points in the park. It was listed as a strenuous hike, which it was, largely due to the steep stairs of rock that the Park Service has created to help folks get to the top. Once at the top, we were treated to a wonderful panoramic view of this part of Joshua Tree, including the aptly named Wonderland of Rocks.

As I write this, we’re temporarily camped in Flagstaff, Arizona, on our way to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. We’re hoping to get to Monument Valley tonight, and should be at Capitol Reef by Thursday. We’re not sure how much time we’ll spend there, but it should be at least a week, if not more. We won’t have good cell coverage, so don’t expect to hear anything from us for at least a week or maybe more.

Thanks!

Rick and Susan

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