8 April 2014--Yesterday, Monday, we took our last trip into the park, but before I get to that I just wanted to show this picture that I forgot to post in the last blog. Doesn't it look like a giant gnome?
So, with that done, we took a hike yesterday to an area in the far northwest part of the park called Fortynine Palms Oasis. It is a 1 1/2 mile walk to the actual Oasis area, and these pics give a general idea of the terrain. It was pretty, but really very brownish all around...only a few pockets of color here and there. The last picture in this grouping shows how brown it is all around the hiking trail, and has a few red barrel cactus thrown in for a little color. haha The 2nd last pic shows the valley below us, and in the far distance you can see the Marine base we were staying at for the past week. It backs up to the far mountains, where we think they do a lot of training.
Along the way we finally spotted lots of chuckwallas and lizards. These are all Chuckwallas...notice how they like to climb high on the rocks to sun themselves in these 1st 3 pics, how chunky the one on the ground is, and the different colored tail on the one in the last pic. If you approach them they tend to freeze, but once they take off they can really move. We 1st saw these in Phoenix and told you how they will go into cracks in the rocks and swell their bodies to wedge themselves there to stop preying animals from grabbing them.
We haven't seen these lizards before, so I don't know what they are called, but I love how their bodies are totally different colors and patterns from the heads and tails. And even with all those colors they blend in with the rocks pretty good.
On to some cactus...we saw quite a bit of these red barrel cactus, which we have seen nowhere else, with some of them growing quite tall.
And more of the cactus we have seen all over...I keep posting these because I love how pretty the petals are on the flower. haha
And finally, we hit the Oasis. If you look closely at the 1st pic you can see the Oasis in the background, surrounded by bare earth and rocks. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why it is here, except that the ranger told us there is a water source here (we couldn't see it), and that animals come here to drink it. There are Bighorn Sheep here somewhere, but we certainly never saw any.
So that was our excursion in Joshua Tree National Park. Headed today to Port Hueneme Navy Base in Ventura, CA, about an hour west/northwest of Los Angeles, where we will be staying for the next 12 days. Looking forward to the beach!!!