Yesterday we left Phoenix to begin the trek to Los Angeles. Our route was planned so that we could not only hit up another National Park Service location, but also stop in Palm Springs to see a family friend. One nice thing about pulling our house behind us is that we get to stop wherever we please!
One of our family objectives when we set off on this adventure was to see as many great sites as we could. NPS sits at the top of our resources when looking for places to visit. Not only does the NPS maintain national parks, but also national monuments, national historical sites, national historic parks, national memorials, national preserves, national seashores, national lakeshore, national rivers, national battlefields and national cemeteries (I may have missed a few, but you get the point)! Needless to say, our list is large. Since beginning this adventure, we’ve probably visited at least 20 different locations! A friend of mine has shared with me that he and his wife have designated NPS as a benefactor in their estate plan. After seeing what we’ve seen, I have to say I’ve called and thanked him!!
Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California near Palm Springs. While JTNP only became a national park in 1994, it has been a national monument since 1936. The most amazing aspects of this park were the giant boulder formations and, of course, the joshua trees! The joshua trees are yucca plants of a variety only found in this area straddling the Colorado Desert and the Mohave Desert. When Mormon settlers were traveling through the region, the trees reminded them of the Bible story of Joshua reaching his hands up to God. Local Cahuilla Indians call the trees humwichiwa and used them to make sandals as baskets as well as eating the seeds (perhaps like dates). The trees were very interesting to see and each one was unique in how the branches reach to the sky!
The boys and I had a blast exploring the “Hall of Horror” trail. Maureen and Gunner hung out in the truck as dogs aren’t allowed to explore JTNP. This trail allowed us to go exploring the giant boulder formations. Both the boys have really become great scramblers and could have left me behind a few times! There was one boulder that took all of us working together to get up. I was first up with Andy and Woody giving me a boost from behind. Next came Woody with Andy pushing and me pulling him up. Finally, I grabbed Andy’s hand and he and I worked together to get him up. The views were great, but just being boys playing on boulders was the best!
Some of the other exploring and adventure we have done here includes healing ourselves in the hot springs at our campground. Below this region, there are natural hot springs with “natural healing properties” according to Dr. Broue, a 1930’s chemist, metallurgist, physicist and geologist (trust him, he’s trained). Healing or not, the pool is awesome at 94 degrees. The hot tubs range from 98 to 104 and feel great too! Our family loves swimming and this place was a great find (hip hip hooray for Maureen)! Palm Springs was fun last night as well. Maureen and I had a great time going out for happy hour dinner, drinks and dessert–plus a stop at the casino where Maureen won enough to pay for a round or two!
Next stop on the map is LA–let’s hope my patience for congested areas holds out…I mean pulling a camper in LA can’t be that bad, right!?!?
Don’t forget Woody’s vlog!