Thursday, December 9, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park

After returning from Oklahoma, Max and I headed out of Phoenix and ended up at Joshua Tree. Although I had been some years ago, I didn't remember much, and Max could only remember driving through, so we both wanted to explore some more.
Cottonwood Springs is on the south side of the park. From the 1870s to about 1910, Cottonwood Springs was a refreshing stop in the desert for Indians, miners, travelers and cowboys. Although the Indians had been camping here for centuries, it was the miners who came to the area who changed the land the most.

Using water from the local spring, the minors built places like this to crush their ore.

We hiked to Lost Horse Mine, which was a 4 mile round trip from the parking area. Legend has it that Johnny Lang found the mine while searching for his lost horse. Whether that is true or not, Johnny and his partners filed the claim for the mine in 1893. It operated full time until 1908.

Looking back on the trail and in the distance you can even see a snow capped mtn in the background.

This 10-stamp battery, ore mill and hoist processed 9000 ounces of gold during the mine's operation. Notice how bundled up I am? It was only in the high 40s, maybe low 50s and the wind was blowing 20-30 mph, making it feel much colder.

At one time their were hundreds of small claims and mines operated in the area which is now Joshua Tree NP. This is what is left of the Silver Bell Mine.

At Keys View you can look over the Coachella Valley and see the San Andreas Fault line.

Although the park is named after the Joshua Tree, a member of the Yucca family, they are only found in the northern part of the park. The park is actually comprised of 2 different deserts, the Mojave in the north and the Colorado in the south, each having its own plants and landscapes. Much of the park exists in a transision zone, where species from both deserts are found.

Here the Joshua Trees are so thick they actually do remind you of a forest environment.
But it was very windy the entire time we were there, so after several days we headed south towards the slabs, hoping to find better weather.

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