"Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have."
Joshua Tree NP
“It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” Jeannette Walls
First declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was re-designated to national park status in 1994. It covers 794,000 acres of wilderness that is comprised of two deserts, the Mojave and the Colorado. Vastly different ecosystems exist between the two due to elevation. The Colorado side is the low side and here you will find more scrub bush, cholla cactus, and ocotillo in a basin like setting. The Mojave which sits at an altitude of 3000 feet is a wetter desert and more “lush” by desert standards. It features another striking aspect of this park in its massive granite rocks that spread across the landscape in masses that can look otherworldly. No matter what side of the park you are on however, its desert and inhospitable. The staff at the Visitor’s Center remind everyone asking for a map to make sure they have a full tank of gas and plenty of water. They even sell bumper stickers that read “Don’t Die Today…Hike Safely”. Just a wee bit intimidating…