I entered the Mojave desert in the dark, and I mean truly dark. With no street lights and an overcast sky, my car headlights were barely able to cut through the night. The Joshua Trees stood like silent pillars, welcoming me into their world as I zipped down the highway. My peripheral vision caught flickers of these madman-looking trees (which are, in fact, not really trees).
Entering Joshua Tree National Park in daylight was an entirely different experience. The unique setting drew my attention, causing my to pull over one too many times on my way to a popular hiking trail. The trees were bold, owning their differences while the rock in the background looked like a giant had simply dumped it in huge piles. To top it all off, the desert flora was in full-bloom. I geared up for a wonderful day in paradise.
After a mile of hiking, I decided that I had never experienced beauty quite like this. I am, at heart, an explorer. I thrive in places where I can discover. Joshua Tree – or JT as the locals call it – was an entire world rife with nooks, crannies, and interesting things to see. I wandered around the rocks, finding familiar shapes in the formations, and scrambling over nooks and crannies. Every so often I’d stumble across a new desert flower I hadn’t yet seen. The Joshua Trees themselves seemed to stand guard over this special wild place.
Scientists predict that within 100 years, there may be no more Joshua Trees in the park due to climate change. How sad to think that future generations may be missing out on this national park’s namesake.
I touched the trunk of a young Joshua Tree and wished it luck.