Joshua Tree
February 2012
The trail into Black Rock Canyon, on the western edge of Joshua Tree National Park, begins as a pleasant saunter along a sandy dry wash.
The connecting Panorama Loop Trail begins a steady climb through mixed cactus and pines.
Nearing the top of the Panorama Loop Trail.
The view north, towards the town of Joshua Tree.
One of the park's namesake Joshua Trees.
Looking west from the Panorama Loop Trail.
My picnic spot at Warren View.
The park road climbs through a relatively barren, rocky landscape that gives way to a large plateau studded with Joshua Trees and piles of granite.
Joshua Trees and granite.
Further down the road, the rough-looking granite gives way to rocks that appear smoother, but they're still punishing to climb. Gloves are a must, even for relatively easy rock-scrambling.
From the park road.
Joshua Trees and granite.
Joshua Trees and granite.
A typical view from the main park road.
There are rock climbers all over the place. They're free to tackle almost any of the jumbled granite piles in the park.
Joshua Trees and granite.
The view from the park road.
Joshua Trees and granite.
From the park road. In the distance, The Oyster Bar.
Typical view from the park road.
Looking southeast from Keys View (5185 feet), towards the more barren section of the park.
Looking southwest from Keys View, towards Palm Springs. The dark horizontal feature on the valley floor is the San Andreas Fault.
In the midst of the barrenness of the central part of the park, The Cholla Garden, a bizarre, multi-acre concentration of cactus.
Cholla.
Cholla.
A spill of granite boulders.
Aptly-named Split Rock.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
The inclusions in the granite can seem almost artificial. Note the ring around the bulge at the top.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
Cholla.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
Face Rock, clearly produced by alien visitors.
Juniper berries.
I'm sure this structure produces a Concert A when struck.
On the Split Rock Loop Trail.
Near Skull Rock.
Near Skull Rock.
Near Skull Rock.
Arch Rock.
The Oyster Bar.
The Oyster Bar.
After climbing up Fortynine Palms Canyon and cresting the ridge, the scene below appears almost lifeless, until...
... you zoom the lens to its limit, and see what's hidden away at the head of the canyon.
Approaching Fortynine Palms Oasis.
Fortynine Palms Oasis.
Fortynine Palms Oasis, looking north towards the town of Twentynine Palms.
Fortynine Palms Oasis.
Fortynine Palms Oasis.
Cactus.
Pine City, and more interesting inclusions in the granite.
Pine City, some of which looks as if it were planned by some desert landscape architect.
Yucca in bloom.
Pine City.
Pine City.
Pine City.
Life clings to any opening.
Cactus.
The park road.