Saturday, July 24, 2021

Southwest Parks 2021 - Day 8 (7/16/2021) - Joshua Trees

Today was dedicated to Joshua Tree National Park. We headed out around 9am, made a quick stop at Starbucks, then drove the 40 minutes to the west entrance of the park. For the next few hours we toured the northwest section of the park, stopping at the following locations (in order): Quail Springs, Hidden Valley, Keys View, Hall of Horrors, Jumbo Rocks, Skull Rock, and Split Rock. Keys View and Split Rock were places where we mostly just got out and saw the thing that we were supposed to see. At Quail Springs, Hall of Horrors, Jumbo Rocks, and Skull Rock we did more of a walkabout, or perhaps scramble-about - Fran loved climbing on the rocks and finding little high points to admire the view and take some pictures. At Hidden Valley we actually did the 1 mile loop trail, of course with a detour so that Fran could scramble up some rocks. I somewhat kept up with her over the course of the day, though didn't go up on all the rocks that she did. For being a desert park in the summer, the heat was more tolerable than expected - the temperature hovered in I would guess the mid 90s °F - and especially so when there was a bit of a breeze. That being said, it was still too hot to go on a strenuous hike, and we ran through the water in our two camel-packs by about 2pm.

Fran couldn't resist climbing into one "eye" of Skull Rock

We exited the park via the north entrance, and promptly found a gas station to buy some drinks to re-hydrate ourselves. From there we looped back to the west on 29 Palms Highway to head back to the hotel. Fran then went for a brief swim in the pool while I dipped my feet in from the edge. We had discussed going to the Palm Spring Art Museum that evening, but when we checked the hours at 4:58pm we found that it would be closing in 2 minutes; we were misled by the fact that it was open until 7pm the night before - those hours are only for Thursdays.

We cleaned up and decided to head into Palm Springs for dinner and some ice cream. We did exactly that, with dinner at a place called Juniper Table, and fancy gelato from Gelato Granucci. After a very pleasant evening out we headed back to the hotel for the night.

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Full pictures for the trip here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/FQpbDfmdGRksjimi9

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