Checking out the map to the Joshua Tree NP for our next adventure we saw the 49 Palms Oasis trail which was a 3 mile out and back moderately strenuous hike with an elevation of 300 foot each way. We decided to do it based out our fitness level, BTW which is not very high! We saw signs at the beginning of the hike that said Don’t Die Today which was kind of scary but we were prepared with 3 bottles of water, and it was a nice 16˚ C (61˚ F), so it was not too hot. I would never attempt this hike in the heat, it would be dangerous!
The hike up was up many rock stairs, and up and up we went and saw some majestic views of the desert from up on high. The walk passed many barrel cactus with their red colour breaking up the red, brown and tan of the landscape.
Wandering up and then down into a valley we saw this – a palm oasis in the middle of the desert. The funny thing is that came to mind was that I can see how mirages came to be with seeing something as unusual as this in amongst the rocks. The oasis is formed where uplifted layers of hard impermeable rock forces underground water to the surface. Within these oases, you can see the collection of water, and the sheer size of the palms is incomprehensible as they are gigantic. The palms are a welcome place to shelter and stay cool.
We packed our lunch and water to have under the palms and enjoyed our time in this surreal land where you could feel the coolness of the trees and the water nearby. It was an absolute treat to experience this and learn about it from the ranger at the visitor centre. Such a fragile environment in a small canyon that provides habitat and diversity for the animals in the desert.
After lunch we wanted to see if we could see birds coming to this area due to the water, so we got out the binoculars to see what we could find. There was nothing very exciting just a couple of crows, still, it was a special place to take pictures with the sunlight streaming across the sky.
On our way back I wanted to capture the sheer grandness and scale of these trees, in the pictures you can see the trunks of the palms compared to my family walking by.
After visiting the hike oases we ventured down to the other visitor centre to wander through the Oasis of Mara which was a home to the indigenous people. I highly recommend reading the story along the path as it is an artwork inspired by the native people – the link has an audio of the story which is a fascinating perspective.
Oh, and at the visitor centre, I finally saw a road runner in real life! It was very exciting as I had only seen this guy in a cartoon with Wylie Coyote and I never imagined a real roadrunner would look like this, they are absolutely stunning with their feathers and tail. We even saw it run in front of a car which was quite scary but he was speedy and made it to the other side – whew!!
At the visitor centre, they had an amazing display of the desert plants with their names, this barrel cactus had such vibrant light shining on it that I could not resist taking a picture of its spiky details.
On our way back to the ranch we visited the Joshua Tree outdoor museum by Noah (recommended by our Air BnB hosts). This piece is called Carousel and in the centre are computers surrounded by many musical instruments and fabric that had been tattered and worn down by years in the outdoors.
There were so many opportunities to photograph the many pieces that were repurposed into assemblage where you could decipher a meaning or maybe not? Still, it was interesting to explore, take photographs and ponder the inspirations. I highly recommend this as an art experience if you enjoy repurposing and reusing, I really appreciate this approach as I do this myself in my textile creations so this was a place of true inspiration for me.