Thursday, September 27, 2007

Joshua Tree National Park, great photo opportunities.

Click on images for larger size.
Staying too long under the sun can cause hallucinations. I thought I saw a corona between the trees.
Living in Southern California is not always stress-free. There is the traffic, the overcrowded areas, some of the highest crime ratings in the nation, pollution, high cost of living, etc. I was not born in California and I came here by choice. However, I can understand why so many people moved out West, hence the famous quote “Go West young men”. The gold rush is over with but it is still a great state.. At one time, before the overcrowded population, this state must have been really wonderful. You encounter everything in this state, from ocean, to deserts, to mountains and everything else in between. The weather is typically nice all year round. You want snow, you go up a mountain. You want to swim or surf, you go to the ocean. You want to hike; there are mountains, prairies, and desert areas all over the state.

We live in a community located in the High Desert area of the San Bernardino County in Southern California. We are a little far from the ocean but there are some very nice areas within a few hours of driving. Joshua Tree National Park is located about 76 miles South East from us. We went there several times during the last 12 months and returned for a visit a few weeks ago. All pictures were taken with my pentax K10D. What a great tool.

The park includes parts of two deserts, each with an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined, for the most part, by elevation. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert covers the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of various cactus and desert plants. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.

The higher moisture and slightly cooler temperatures of the Mojave Desert is the unique habitat of the Joshua from which the park is name after. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic formations found in California's deserts. The foremost geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into boulders.

The park is extremely popular with rock climbers referred to it as "JT" by locals. It is the best traditional winter climbing destination in the United States, no doubt. Thousands of climbers from all over the world come here every winter.
The flatland between these boulders is sparingly forested with Joshua trees. More than 200 species of birds have been observed in the park. There are nine renowned campgrounds in the park. There are several hiking trails within the park, many of which can be accessed from the campgrounds. Shorter trails, such as the one mile hike through Hidden Valley, offer a chance to view the beauty of the park without wandering away too far into the desert.
To sum it all up, JT is a unique area that presents unique photographic opportunities. If you are living in California or Colorado and even Nevada, you should visit the park. If you are living elsewhere, if you ever come to California, you should plan for a visit to JT.
National Parks are a treasure that we need to keep for all future generations.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

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