Hidden valley lies near the heart of the Mohave Desert section of Joshua Tree National Park. If a visitor had only a couple hours to spend in the park, the mile-long nature trail here would be a great choice.
The small “valley” is actually an area virtually surrounded by the park’s famous granite formations. It had been used in the previous century as a natural holding pen for rustled cattle, but in the months before Joshua Tree National Monument was established in 1936, longtime area resident, Bill Keys, dynamited an access path into the valley.
After flying to Orange County on Wednesday, a four-plus hour flight after work, we crashed with Aunt Judy and Uncle Tom, who had taken me to my first National Park over nineteen years earlier.
The weather forecasts for earlier and later in the week at Joshua Tree had called for daytime highs of 95 degrees, but the two days we planned to be the desert saw forecasted highs in the mid-70s and lows in low-50s. Although intellectually we’d been prepared for cooler than expected temperatures, we were still surprised that we were to have the same weather in Joshua Tree as at Isle Royale. It was all the more unusual considering that many of the campgrounds at the park, closed throughout the summer because of soaring temperatures, had just reopened for the season a week earlier. Continue reading
Almost as soon as we arrived home from Isle Royale in August, we had to begin thinking about Joshua Tree National Park, which straddles the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts in southern California. Sean and I were invited to my youngest cousin’s wedding in Orange County in early October. My aunt and uncle’s house was only a two and a half-hour drive from Twentynine Palms, the gateway to Joshua Tree.
Although the wedding festivities would happen over the weekend we decided to fly out to Orange County on Wednesday evening, so that we could spend Thursday afternoon through Friday morning at the park. Continue reading
The next park could hardly be further from the north woods of Isle Royale:
Joshua Tree National Park.