Louise Speaks: On a recent trip to California we once again went by the turn off to the Joshua Tree National Park. We knew this was in Patricia’s book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die” but we had never stopped. We were on our way to take a cruise and decided this was the time we would visit the National Park. So on the way back from our cruise, we took the turn off and visited the park. The Joshua Tree National Park is actually listed under Death Valley in Patricia’s book, but for us it is much closer to see it from the Arizona / California side than to go up to Nevada.
The park is right off the I-10 Fwy outside of Palm Springs, CA. Declared a U.S. National Park in 1994, it had previously been a National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua trees native to the park. It covers a land area of 790,636 acres, an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres , is a designated wilderness area. Straddling two counties, the park includes parts of two deserts, whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert.
Joshua trees dominate the open spaces of the park, but in among the rock outcroppings are other forms of vegetation. The higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree for which the park is named. It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features habitats of bushes and cactus. There are areas of such cactus density they appear as natural gardens. The lower Coachella Valley is on the southeastern side of the Park with sandy soil desert dunes. The only palm native to California, the California Fan Palm, occurs naturally in five oases in the park, rare areas where water occurs naturally year round and all forms of wildlife are visible.
The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park were formed more than 100 million years ago from the cooling of magma beneath the surface with roughly rectangular joints. Ground water then filtered through the joints to erode away the corners and edges to create rounded stones, and flash foods washed away covering ground to create piles of boulders. Like rock formations in the Arches in Utah, names were given to many of these rock formations. Skull Rock is a prime example.
We drove completely through the National Park. We entered through the west in Yucca Valley and came out to the east at Chiracco Summit. We stopped many times to take photos and to see the gardens and rock formations. When driving through, take time to see the different formations and enjoy the beauty of these unusual trees. These trees are only seen here in the National Park and in the Deserts of Israel. Joshua trees are seen through many of the area deserts, but going through the national park just makes you realize how many of these trees there actually are.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned we were on our way to the dock to go on a short cruise. We left early so as not to miss the boat so we do have some extra time today, Jan. 21, 2017. We decided to visit a resort that is in Patricia’s book and was not to far off the Fwy, so we made a detour to visit the resort. This a resort is in the Yucca Valley . The resort is actually listed under the Death Valley Post but it is much closer to see from the highway between Arizona and California than from Death Valley. The Two Bunch Palm Resort is a private resort. We had to pull strings just to get through the gates. The resort is in Desert Hot Springs, CA and is just outside of Palm Springs.
We had to explain to the guard at the gate why we were there and all about Patricia’s book. He connected us to the main lobby and we told our story again. We were told we could go and speak to the gals in the lobby. When we asked if we could tour some of the grounds or the facilities we were told no, they have a privacy law with their guests. This resort is very inclusive to the rich and famous although it is very affordable. The gal at the desk however, did tell us about the history of the resort and how it was used as a hideout for villains like Al Capone. There is a story behind how it got it’s name Two Bunch Palm, and there are two bunches of palm trees at the entrance, but I forgot the story. I asked if this history was written up somewhere and she said no, it was just information she had accumulated over the years…I’m going to have to start taking notes when I go to these places. I have looked over the internet to try to find some of these things she told us about and I can’t find a thing. So if you stop by, you will have to find this young lady and get the story yourself.
As stated in the Death Valley Post, I did enjoy spending a day viewing the sites. Equally as impressive was the Joshua Tree National Park. I wold highly recommend visiting both these spots should you ever have the chance. As for Two Bunch Resort, I would not rate this high on my list. The grounds were very plain, and although I appreciate the privacy clause, they could have showed us some of the grounds to give us a better impression of the resort.