Friday, March 14, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

After all the craziness, we arrived at our destination late at night.  We were staying in a town just outside Joshua Tree National Park.  It was a gravel parking lot sort of campground, but it was in the middle of town, so we couldn't complain.  We figured we ought to take some time at Joshua Tree before we got to Vegas. 

In the morning, we set off for the park, with no real expectations.

If you've never seen a Joshua Tree, but you have read a Dr. Seuss book including trees, then you have, in fact, seen a Joshua Tree.

We passed fields of them on the park's recommended "scenic drive".  They are squirrely and squiggly and just plain zany looking.

They are also extremely sharp.

We chose a hike for our one day in the park that would take us near some Petroglyphs.  We already knew we'd love them since we had such a great time checking them out in New Mexico

The hike was typical for the desert: dry, sun saturated, and on the warm side.

Maeryn and Michael did some rock climbing:

Jonah thought he might join them on a big ascent, but decided against it when he realized just how high he'd be going.

Maeryn braved the whole thing.  We already know she's daring

That's them at the top.

And we continued our hike.

The Petroglyphs were all in one area, a contrast from the 3 Rivers Site in New Mexico. 

We climbed up into the cave to get a better view.

While we were up there, a woman (unaffiliated with the park) yelled at us to get down and told us we would damage the glyphs with our mere presence.

I tried not to boil over at this.

There were no signs about climbing to view the glyphs.  We'd been educated at 3 Rivers all about them and how to handle ourselves around them so that we would cause no damage. 

It bothered me that this person would assume that we would damage these amazing artifacts or be careless around them.

Sure - someone might do that - but it was not her job to tell us we couldn't climb into the cave. 

I could understand calling someone out if they were harming the glyphs or carving into the walls or climbing up there with a can of paint - but we were studying, we were respectful...

I really just needed to get over it.  We didn't start a fight.  We just climbed down.  We had a chance to see everything we wanted to anyway.

It took about a half mile for me to simmer down. 

Once I did, Maeryn started to get tired.  She wanted to be carried and she wanted a drink and she wanted to be done, so we trudged back to the parking lot and went to one last scenic overlook.

It was a view of the expanse of valley below Joshua Tree.  It was pretty, but we were tired, hungry, and really done with the park at that point.

The highlight of the scenic overlook was this cool van:

You'd think the overlook would be more impressive... but not today.

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