Joshua Tree National Park: The Colorado Desert

To us, the Mojave desert seems a bit bleak, sparse, desolate, and harsh.  But it feels like lush jungle rainforest compared to the Colorado Desert.  We crossed over the transition zone while driving south, and all of a sudden were were faced with what looked like Mordor: a huge barren plain stretched out before us, seemly devoid of life, with only sparse vegetation and absolutely no shelter or shade for miles and miles. Surrounded on all sides by rust colored mountains, it felt hot, dry, and desolate.  But here and there, there were colorful plants growing, supporting bird and insect and rodent life. It is definitely unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

We camped at the Cottonwood Springs campground near the southern edge of the park. The day we arrived was the day after the government shutdown, so our reservation meant nothing, and it was every man for themselves…but we were lucky and found a site.
The kids got a little homework in…
And we had a beautiful sunset.

That night we were awoken in the night by coyotes howling and yipping to each other. It was amazing to hear.
The following morning, we packed up and headed for Palm Springs, where we would spend Christmas. On our way out of the park, we stopped and walked through a short nature trail, outlining the various plants that grow in the Colorado Desert and their amazing adaptations.

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