Joshua Tree: Holy trees under a blood red sky

koenau @koenau
· 2 months ago · 5 min read · United States · #traveladvice

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Everybody who is growing up with vinyl is knowing this tree. Look at the inner cover of U2's "Joshua Tree" album and remember: One trunk, seven boughs, a sky like lead and an empty world like on mars. This is the Joshua Tree National Park in California, one of the strangest and most bizarre places around the world.

Named after a yucca tree who is named after the Hebrew name for Jesus the Joshua Tree National Park is a desert landscape in southeastern California that forms the transition between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. You never seen this before: It’s a open range with about 3196 km² between 305 meters high down in the Pinto Basin and 1772 meters on the summits of Quail Mountain.


The mystic character of the park are coming from the mix of the Joshua trees and the yellow rocks who are one of the most interesting geological formations in the California deserts. Not real mountains all around, just bare rocks laying in the middle of the desert and broke up by a long long time to individual rock formations. That is the result of erosion on the surface after millions of years.


The best you can admire that at the most fascinating and spectacular rock shapes Jumbo Rocks, Wonderland of Rocks and Indian Cove. Here the world looks like a theater stage with crazy scenes, coves and paths like a maze.


Joshua Tree was declared a National Monument in 1936 and it is a National Park since 1994. It is visited today annually by over one million people - including thousands of rock climbers from all over the world. But don`t try this for your own: The surface of the rocks are all sharp like a knife, you will get cuts and scrapes and bloody hands.


The climate in the Joshua Tree National Park is generally very dry, but differs depending on the altitude and, surprise, by the weather. During our stay a tiny summer blizzard came over and it brought us rain and thunderstrucks an more water as we need for one night. Because our tents were pitched near the rocks, the water flooded our campground by the night.


For a stay in the desert it was very wet. But the tourist infrastructure of the park is underdeveloped. The only way for a stay over night are this simple kind of campsites, you have to reserve in the season before you start your ride. When the season is over, you only have to pay 15 $ at a box near the campside of your choice.


It could be cold in the night but not so cold as you maybe fear. During the day the temperature is around 30 ° C, at the night it falls to 15 ° C. Mormons who once crossed the Mojave Desert were reminiscent of the desert of Sinai, so the gave the joshua tree its name. They thought the trees look like the prophet Joshua, who with outstretched arms showed the Israelites the way to the Promised Land.


Let’s just go back to the beginning and to U2 and their formidable album “The Joshua Tree” at last: No, you don`t have to search around for the original tree, because it is lost since years. The Joshua tree - the one and only for music fans - Anton Corbijn’s photographed for U2’s classic in 1986 was destroyedzed.


At the year 2000 the tree died by natural causes, later someone’s hacked a limb off of the tree and he stole it as a souvenir. But if he hasn't done this you still would not have a chance to find him here, the famous Joshua Tree. Because the tree was located never at the Joshua Tree NP but in the Mojave Desert, near Darwin, California, 250 miles north.

More pictures under the link section.

Follow me on my epic journey through America:

Joshua Tree: Holy trees under a blood red sky
Ghost Town Oatman: Where the mule does rule
Route 66: On the road that kicks
Grand Canyon West: No-pics allowed of this beauty
Grand Canyon: Scenic views into the abyss of earth
Graveyard of giants: The Jurassic Park at the Navajo Trail
More than monumental: The heart of the wild west
Arches NP: The biggest bow you've ever seen
Zion Canyon: Ice-cold feet in narrow waters
Bryce Canyon: God's glowing stones
Las Vegas: Home of Bad Luck
Red Rock Canyon: Road under the ocean
Death Valley: The dry throat of the desert
Mt. Withney: High on thin air
Mono Lake: Eating flies on a salty shore
Golden Gate Bridge: 80.000 miles of steel wire
Sequoia: Beyond the everlasting trees
Yosemite NP: Crazy climbers at El Capitan
High Sierra: The wonder of the Sierra Waves
Alcatraz: Into the home of horror
Richfield: Where Easy Rider is alive
Alabama Hills: Blue skies over Hollywoods West


Topics: TRAVELADVICEPHOTOGRAPHY

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