The Incredible Beauty Of Joshua Tree National Park!
Yes, that’s a Joshua Tree, and for this edition of “Hitch Hiking”, I’m going to take you on a 5-mile hike though some of the most beautiful rock formations in the incredible Joshua Tree National park, located in California, two hours east of Los Angeles.
And just how big are these rocks? Well, look at the people to the left of this photo:
That’s me hanging out with one of my favorite boulders as well…the size and scope of this park is staggering, so let’s get started on our hike:
As the official website notes, Joshua Tree National park is actually two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, which come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California.
As you can see, the trails are spacious and plentiful in the park, with lots of great markers and signs to show you all of the best rock formations, which are literally all around you!
The park is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994. Encompassing a total of 790,636 acres (1,235.4 sq mi), the park includes 429,690 acres (671.4 sq mi) of designated wilderness.
But don’t worry, there is so much to explore!
Welcome to “Skull Rock!”
One of the park’s most famous faces, “Skull Rock” began long ago when rain drops accumulated in tiny depressions and started to erode the granite. As more rock eroded, more water accumulated, leading to more erosion until, as time passed, two hollowed-out eye sockets formed and the rock began to resemble a skull.
The “Faces” Of Joshua Tree!
“Skull Rock” is easy to find, and from there, a 1.7-mile nature trail begins there that allows you to see ALL of the “faces” of Joshua Tree – look at some of these!
Here’s is a video look at the “faces” of Joshua Tree – and what the surrounding landscape looks like – at times a moonscape, at times a gallery of unique rock faces!
Here’s a look at “Skull Rock” and its friends:
Yes, that’s a nest in that small tree…it’s amazing where life flourishes in the midst of this desert oasis!
We ended up hiking more than seven miles in all – with the weather a perfect 73 degrees, we didn’t have to worry about the 100+ degree weather of summer…spring is definitely the time to experience Joshua Tree!
On the way out of the park, we pulled over to capture Joshua Tree’s contribution to the “Super Bloom” that is underway in Southern California:
Of course, I shared our previous trip to the “Super Bloom” in Lake Elsinore, an incredible visual feast as well:
You can see more of those pictures here:
Speaking of pictures, this incredible hike had to be matched with a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and since there were so many “faces” in Joshua Tree’s rock formations, I remembered when Henry Fonda’s face was mistaken for a Robber – in Hitchcock’s 1956 classic “The Wrong Man”:
Henry Fonda plays a string bassist who is a devoted husband and father playing in the jazz combo at the Stork Club. He needs to cash in some of his wife’s life insurance, but when he enters the insurance office, he is identified by some of the clerks as the man that held up the office twice a few months earlier – yes, they’ve identified “the wrong man”.
Here is the trailer:
Here is some great trivia thanks to IMDB:
The scene where Henry Fonda is taken to prison was filmed in a real prison. As he is led to his cell , you can hear one of the inmates yell out “What’d they get ya for, Henry??”, and a bunch of other prisoners laughing.
“The Wrong Man” is one of Hitchcock’s most somber films, but the Director still has a cameo, however, in this film Hitchcock narrates the prologue in the film as well. This was the only time that he actually spoke in any of his movies.
While we were in the Joshua Tree area, we ate at this incredible restaurant:
So there you have it: an incredible nature hike in Joshua tree among the “rock faces”, and a Hitchcock thriller based on a “face” as well!
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