Just East of Palm Springs along I-10 in California is Joshua Tree National Park. Established as a park in 1994 it is home to it’s namesake, the Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree looks like a Yucca Tree, but it actually part of the Agave family.
The park itself is a big loop that takes one through hiking trails, multiple camping sites, and picnic areas.
It makes for a scenic drive through boulders, wildflowers, and lots of Joshua trees… making it a fabulous drive through this desert oasis.
It’s been called The Loneliest Road, which ironically gave it fame and tourism otherwise unsolicited or deserved. Route 50 cuts across Nevada from East to West, with nary a stop along the way. It’s sole purpose to get from one end to the other… CA being on the West end, Utah being on the East.
Our destination was to cut across Northern CA to Great Basin National Park, on the Eastern edge of Nevada. This time of year we were the only ones at Great Basin National Park, as the Park itself and all the roads, overlooks, and scenic drives were closed (unlike what their own website indicated). One year round campground was open, so at least we had that.
With snow on the ground, the temperatures were quite nippy. It did provide for our first glimpse of a white turkey, though… so that was pretty cool.
Lehman Caves was open, and provided a wonderful excursion and scenic site. You can check out my photos of the Caves here….Lehman Caves
We will have to imagine the park and it’s views since it wasn’t open when we were there. But I can tell you that the babbling brook and creek running as the snow melted was very calming and serene. The views of the snow packed peaked above us, surrounded by aspen and birch were stunning to behold.
I can’t say it’s worth the drive, having seen so little of it… but it was a nice place to rest our head for the night.
Each National Park has it’s highlight. For Yosemite it’s El Capitain; for Yellowstone it’s Old Faithful. Some may argue their favorite sites for each park… or favorite of the Parks. One of my favorites is Mesa Arch. I always think Mesa Arch is in Arches National Park… but it’s actually in the Park across the street Canyonlands.
But it’s not Canyonlands or Arches National Park I want to share. It’s actually ‘The Road Less Travelled’, the White Rim road. We saw this road from an overlook, and thought… now that’s where I want to go. I wonder if we can camp there?
Well the answer is .. yes, you can camp there… with a permit and reservations made a year in advance. Apparently it’s a much coveted trip… 100 miles in total of decent, sometimes rough dirt road that runs ‘beneath’ the park that ordinary folk see. I wasn’t even aware that such a back dirt road inside the park existed. So we got a day pass and embarked on a grand adventure.
We felt like explorers seeing the park for the first time. We were ants amidst there giant canyons. It was like a John Ford film with stagecoaches baring the elements. The landscape was vast and humbling. It really made you realize how small we are in this great big magnificent world.
Photos can’t do the grand majestic landscape justice.
Along the way we saw few cars, but a number of bicycles making the trek. Then we saw this little ram munching away on the side of the road, which was a real treat for me.
Next time we’ll have to make reservations and take the entire road. Since it’s a slow road, they say it takes 3 – 4 days to complete the 100 miles. This seemed like the best kept secret around to us… now that we know it’s here, and have tasted it’s beauty, we’ll be back for the whole experience.
There is something truly majestic and spectacular about the awesome mountain range that makes up Grand Tetons. It’s towering jagged terrain is awe inspiring. It sets up the backdrop for the thick forests, willowy birch trees, and vast meadows. With the Snake River winding through it, it’s no wonder so many well-off people call this place home.
After leaving Yellowstone, we were happy to be in place that seemed more relaxed and friendly. We loved the rugged environment, the more skittish animals, and the out going people.
We saw some great animals… elk, deer, and finally our coveted moose. The scenery was truly magnificent.
For more photos, check out my photo blog, kritterspix.com