Day 29: Joshua Tree (Cont.)

Since we missed the sunset yesterday because of the CAVS game I was determined to get up at 5:00 AM and watch the sunrise. This only happens on very rare occasions, but I figured sleeping in the desert should be one of them! It was beautiful and well worth getting out of bed. Plus I just got right back into bed and slept until 9:30 AM.

We had a pretty full schedule for today, which started out at the Cholla Cactus Garden. This was a super easy hike (in fact Keith would tell you it wasn’t a hike), so I was stoked. Unfortunately the photos don’t do this densely populated garden justice, but trust us when we say there are thousands of “jumping cacti” ready to insert their spines into your skin at the lightest touch.

We headed down Park Boulevard a bit more to check out Ocotillo Patch. These trees actually bloom based on rainfall rather than seasons, so we were lucky to see a few of them in bloom since it’s the dry season.

Our next stop was White Tank and Arch Rock. We were able to get up close and personal with these giant rocks, which were believed to be formed 135-155 million years ago…give or take a few years. This was a nice hike, but it was a little busier since it’s attached to a campground. And when I say busier, I mean we saw like 15 people on this hike. We got really spoiled yesterday at Hidden Valley!

We wanted to do one more solid hike, so we headed over to Barker Dam. Did I mention that these trails are all sand? So it’s a real workout, even if it’s not uphill! I was pretty proud of myself. The dam wasn’t very interesting (no water), but we got a chance to see some different plant life including a juniper tree.

We saved the best view for last: Keys View. This one lookout at 5,185 feet gave us panoramic views of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, the San Andreas Fault, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. Amazing. Again, the pictures just don’t do it justice.

Sunrise at Kate's Lazy Desert

Sunrise at Kate’s Lazy Desert

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Being one with nature

Being one with nature

Ocotillo

Blooming Ocotillo

White Tank Granite. Think I can take some home with me for my bathroom counter tops?

White Tank Granite. Think I can take some home with me for my bathroom counter tops?

Arch Rock

Arch Rock

Yellow Flower

Our friend Steve

Our friend Steve

It's rare to find flowers in this desert!

It’s rare to find flowers in this desert!

Sitting back and taking in this spectacular view

Sitting back and taking in this spectacular view

This is what you are looking at!

This is what you are looking at in the next picture!

PanoSelfie

This is a Joshua Tree!

This is a Joshua Tree!

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