Tuesday, 12 February 2013

California - Joshua Tree National Park cont.

After the Tarantula (shudder) we continued to climb through a transition zone between the Colorado Dessert and the Mojave Dessert. The geology started to change, there were smooth boulders littering the ground. There were more, and larger, yucca and the flora had subtly changed.

Random smooth stones soon changed to ridges of these smooth boulders. Huge and often eroded into bizarre shapes.

We stopped and explored at an area called Skull Rock.

Kathy in front of Skull Rock
Bruce  taking the opportunity for a "photo shoot"
It was here that I saw my first Antelope Ground Squirrel which is a long name for a tiny beige and grey, chipmunk like animal. When we had a picnic lunch later we saw a couple more and they proved very inquisitive running off with an apple core and some Doritos.

We began to see the Parks namesake, Joshua Trees.

Joshua Trees are a kind of yucca and they don't grow below a certain elevation. Even where they were prolific they were growing at least 20 feet apart from each other. The pictures above are of one of the biggest that we saw.

Our final stop, before heading back, was on a very windy ridge over looking the valley and the San Andreas Fault.

The dark line along the valley is the fault line.
The plates on either side of the fault line move in opposite directions about 2 inches every year.

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