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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Desert Trip; Part 2

Part 2 in which we stay at 29 Palms, see a lot of desert stuff, and Owls.

We stayed at Roughley Manor, a great place in 29 Palms. Good rooms, interesting and nice owners, and a nest of baby owls we observed in a nearby tree. I strongly recommend this place to anyone staying in 29 Palms. The breakfasts alone are worth the extra cost here.

When we booked our hotels, we looked at . The reviews were very helpful. I was amazed at how many places had incredibly horrible reports from dozens of travelers. That site probably saved us from several crummy nights, and helped us find two really good places to stay.

Now, time for vacation photos.

Joshua Tree (where the streets have no name) was great! We had good weather, with breezy highs below 70 degrees. The desert was full of flowers.

After visiting the park office, we started with a short interpretive walk to Skull Rock
This short trail near a campground and the office’s garden had lots of plant identification markers. Although interpretive trails are generally candy assed, they help me learn to recognize some flora. We saw flowers everywhere.

Skull rock itself was pretty awesome. Shiver me timbers.

In the same way this Joshua Tree Park has very little to do with Bono and his ‘wheeze and roll’ U2 buddies, I expect this skull rock is not closely related to the notorious Burning Blade Clan’s hideout in World of Warcraft. It’s amazing what you can learn from Google.

We took a less wimpy walk to 49 Palms Oasis. As advertised, there really was an oasis with palm trees, flowering shrubs ,and even hummingbirds. The oasis hasn’t had water at the surface fro several years, due to a dropping water table. This was a cool place, in every meaning of the word.

The walk to and from the oasis was filled with desert wildflowers. I didn’t even try to identify them. Here’s some of them.

This is the beaver tail cactus, although without the pink flowers, they look a lot like a prickly pear.

A park ranger was very excited to see this flower near the trailhead parking lot.She took this picture with my camera,since the flower was on a slippery gravel slope marked as off limits to visitors. I think this is called a flaming star.

All the barrel cactus were red. The ranger said they are always red. Go figure.

This was a beautiful hike, but we noticed the conspicuous absence of Joshua trees along this trail. That was funny, since we drove through miles of valley full of the things on the way to the trailhead.

We addressed that issue the next morning, when we hiked to Pine City. This hike started out through a plain dotted with Joshua trees, and moved on to several rocky ridges and canyons. The hike went past several pine canyons,which we did not recognize as pine canyons. But it was beautiful.

Finally, pictures of joshua trees.

This might have been a pine canyon, I think the scrubby fir shrub in the left foreground may have qualified as a pine.

Mysterious pine canyons or not, I don't think there's anything as desolate yet oddly attractive looking as a field of joshua trees.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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