The journey begins: Joshua Tree National Park

After much research, planning, and mapping out our routes, we headed out on our new adventure! Determined not to spend my 60th birthday at home, I was excited to explore and embrace the next decade of life. My loving husband and trusty sidekick was at the helm.

After doing a bit of research I booked our stay at The Bungalows, by Homestead Modern. This location did not disappoint. We were one of the first few guests at the recently remodeled facility. I chose this location for several reasons. The Bungalows are located in the town of Joshua Tree, minutes away from the park entrance. Their website boasted beauty, peaceful serenity with open views of natural surroundings. Indeed, our room had two walls of windows and was very beautifully decorated, with ample room both inside, and outside on the vast patio area. The feel of privacy was created by large separation walls, and with corner suites we had a fabulous view with the feel of seclusion. The expectation of quite evenings and peaceful surroundings was communicated, and the property had the feel of a relaxing retreat. The decor had a 60’s modern vibe with a touch of class and simplicity. The tans, orange and yellows blended well with the desert colors outside. I loved it from the moment I stepped inside. We enjoyed our early morning coffee with beautiful desert mountain views.

Part of the view from our bungalow

Below is a slide show with a few more photos:

With the park so close we didn’t feel the need to rush out early in the morning. My husband was still recovering from a partially torn calf muscle, so no hard hikes for us. However, we had plenty of driving opportunities, walking paths, and easy hikes to give us some great adventures in Joshua Tree National Park. Although the weather was a bit cold and blustery, we had lots of sun and layered up.

On one of our first walks we noticed rock climbers. There are a multitude of rock formations and this is a very popular place for rock climbers. Below you can see a climber close up.

A fuller photo showing the climber in the lower center area. At the very top you can see someone waiting,

One more photo of the same rock showing another climber almost to the top. We paused for a few minutes and just watched the progress.

I loved the small town of Joshua Tree. Just down the road from our bungalow is the turn off that leads to the park entrance. At the crossroads, there are a few shops, a couple of restaurants and the park visitors’ center. We ate at both of the restaurants there. The food was good, the atmosphere was unique, but we learned that it paid to get there early. There could be quite a wait later in the evening. It may have been worse because we were there on the weekend. However, I loved experiencing the town vibe.

The town of Joshua Tree is tiny, but the park is huge. with 790,000 square acres, it is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. If you decide to visit, remember, it is desert. There are restroom facilities in the park, but no water, no food, no hotel, no electricity and no cell service. Sadly, people die there every year because they don’t properly plan.

But it is beautiful!

On easy hike to Barker Dam

Notice the petroglyphs

Skull Rock

Black Rock Campground, hike on Hi-View trail. Parking lot is at the bottom of the hill.

Notice how tall the trees are!

The Joshua Tree:

  • The Joshua Tree is a part of the Yucca plant family.
  • The name is said to have originated from 19th century Mormons emigrating from Salt Lake City to Southern California. The appearance of the yucca plant was an indication to them that they were about halfway to their destination. Legend has it that the tree’s outstretched branches reminded them of the biblical Joshua beckining his people to the promise land.
  • The trees don’t flower every each year. However, every few years most trees seem to flower at the same time and present a massive display of flowers!
  • There are two types of Joshua Trees. One type found in generally in California (Western Joshua Trees), and those found in the Mojave National Preserve, Navada, Utah and Arizona (Eastern Joshua Trees).
  • The Joshua Tree is the largest yucca in the US. One has been recorded at 56 feet back in 1930. More recently one was recorded at 42 and 40 feet. Unfortunately, both have died.
  • Research indicates that Joshua Trees generally died before 150 years, although evidence suggests a rare individual tree may approach a maximan of 300 years.
  • Joshua Trees were revered by Native Americans as an excellent source of food and fiber. Fibers were used for baskets, and flowers buds, blossoms and fruits were consumed.
  • Fire does not necessarily destroy all Joshua trees. Many have found to survive by producing sprouts at the base of their burnt trunks.
  • And finally, thanks to the Joshua Tree, during time of drought, the woodrat is able to obtain moisture from the Joshua Tree leaves! ๐Ÿ€

Our last day we found a place to stop in the park and watch the sunset. It was cold, but I ventured out and took several photos of a very beautiful sunset.

We didn’t get to see every part of the park. Because of time and temperatures, we decided not to drive to the southern entrance of the park. Even with the cold weather and winds, the sunshine allowed us to see so many parts of this amazing park.

There are things to see outside the park worth exploring. We visited Pioneertown not far away, and I’m so happy we took the time to experience the World-Famous Crochet Museum! These are both worthy of their own posts, and I know you can’t wait! ๐Ÿ˜Š

We took away great memories of our trip to Joshua Tree National Park.

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy says:

    Incredible pictures! And that moon shot is beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nancy! And that moon shot came out better than I expected! I figure I’ve gotta try ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  2. restlessjo says:

    A whole heap of wonderful memories, Lisa. A great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful photos, Happy Birthday! What a great way to kick off the celebration of turning 60!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shelley!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Toonsarah says:

    What a fabulous birthday trip! Your accommodation looks perfect and I love all your photos from the park, but especially the sunset ones ๐Ÿ˜ฎ When we visited (back in 1991) it was summer and too hot to do more than very short walks – you make me wish we’d been there at a more temperate time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I saw photos on Instagram after we returned showing snow! It was so beautiful with snow. But yes, the summertime would not work for me ๐Ÿ˜Š As long as it was happy with sunshine, I can bundle up!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wind Kisses says:

    Beautiful planning, and visit. Itโ€™s such a beautiful park and you did a great job showcasing it. And the night sky photosโ€ฆ wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad we found a place to watch that sunset. I always tend to think of what we missed, and I need to focus on all we experienced!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wind Kisses says:

        Hahaha. I know that feeling. I keep a next time list. With retirement it pays off.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do have a journal and list what we did do! And where we eat! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wind Kisses says:

        oooo, I should start the food list.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Anita says:

    What an exciting adventure so nicely documented Lisa. Amazing images and the place to stay certainly looks like the right place to celebrate and enjoy. Happy Birthday!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anita! Yes, it’s nice to keep these posts for a future reminder! I wish there was a way for me to take my travel posts and print them in a photo book, but I don’t know of a way to do that. It was an amazing trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Naomi says:

    How interesting that people can climb rocks like that! And you got a spectacular sunset photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was quite amazing!


  8. Fabulous captures, Lisa! What a wonderful and beautiful way to celebrate your birthday. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Donna! It was a fun adventure! I love seeing new places ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Earthwatcher says:

    That is a wonderful place. I love being there. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pepper says:

    Oh, how fun and your pics are fabulous. What a great way to celebrate your birthday. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was fabulous! Thank you, Pepper!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jeff Flesch says:

    Amazing pics! I love that hotel! Happy birthday, Lisa!! ๐Ÿฅณ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽˆ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jeff!! The hotel, the park, the sunshine, it was amazing!


  12. SoyBend says:

    The trees always make me think of Dr Seuss. They are unique!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hadn’t thought of that, but now I will! ๐Ÿ˜Š They are very unique!

      Liked by 1 person

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