Joshua Tree National Park

Yes, I’m officially on Sabbatical. BUT there were three experiences still to share. This is the last one… Up next: retro posts revisted.


Not a U2 fan, I hoped that Joshua Tree National Park would still hold relevance for me. It did. Phew!

What’s in a Name?

For starters, it’s not a tree or a cactus–it’s a yucca.

Why named for Joshua? Mormons came upon the “tree” in the desert, with arms held high, and thought of the Biblical Joshua who went to Canaan at Moses’ request to scout the land for settling after the 40 years awander in the desert. The tree looked like it was praying, as Joshua did, and now we have a name.

joshua tree arms raised

Enjoy some more pretty Joshua Trees. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

This flora reminds me of a muppet. As the yucca grows, the leaves on the trunk and branches dry out, leaving a crispy, shaggy texture.

joshua tree as muppet

I’ll See You Where the Deserts Meet

Within the National Park, two deserts meet: the Colorado, which is dry and full of cacti; and the Mojave, which is where the Joshua Trees grow. Interesting to think about deserts having boundaries and merging with each other. But I suppose bodies of water do, too.

desert progression at joshua tree national park

Watching the desert landscape evolve throughout the park. Cacti and barren and then forests of Joshua Trees.  

yucca bloom

Cactus blooms!

What Big Boulders You Have!

boulders at joshua tree national park

These boulders basically erupted from the ground! Molten liquid oozed up while the Earth’s crust moved and now there are clusters of rocks that appear…right there. They’re massive and daunting, and Flinstone-esque.


The regular ole rocks that litter the mountains remind me of the movie The Neverending Story. Think this is where pop culture drew inspiration?

joshua tree boulders and neverending story

Photo courtesy of Flickr

I was excited to see the Joshua Trees, but didn’t know anything about the boulders. I actually enjoyed them more–for their variety and grandeur.


Which nature experience reminds you of a pop culture reference?

5 Responses


Is this from where the edible yucca comes from?


WOW, what an amazing place. And I believe this is the first time I’ve heard mention of it…but it’s not alone in that category. Definitely worth get off Sabbatical for!

Thinking of you


You make learning interesting. I enjoy the juxtaposition of cartoon with reality. You’ve introduced me to places I’d never considered and now wish to visit. Thank you for the best arm-chair travel available. As always, good job of making me “be there”.


Beautiful pictures of Joshua Tree! I agree, it’s a beautiful and one-of-a-kind place – we go almost every year and never tire of it. Your pictures show lots of color and blooming in the spring – amazing to see such vibrant flora in a desert.

Jamon – how lucky that you get to go repeatedly!

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