|Doin' Some Sightseeing|
|Sunday, 20 March 2005 16:00|
We woke up to a much calmer day, lots of sunshine, deep blue sky and a predicted high of 23C, an ideal day to explore the Joshua Tree National Park, northeast of here. On our way to the West Entrance we drove along the Twentynine Palms Highway, through the town of Morongo Valley to Yucca Valley, a wonderful town with numerous antique stores, a great health food store and a good variety of restaurants. At the town of Joshua Tree we entered the park at the west entrance station where we purchased an annual park pass for $50.00, which will give us access to all US National Parks for one year. When you consider that entrance fees to most national parks can vary from $10-$20 per visit, the pass is a great bargain and we know that it will pay for itself very quickly.
As we made our way through the park, we encountered dozens of interesting hiking trails, some fabulous lookouts and some great rock climbing opportunities (if we were into that). The trees were beginning to flower and the desert was greener than it has been in years. We are about a week and a half too early to see the desert flowers but we were still treated to plenty of colour with the ones that were in blossom. We saw several jack rabbits darting through the abundant shrubbery and at one point we even encountered a coyote just a few yards in front of us, crossing the road.
On our way back we stopped in Yucca Valley for a late lunch and then we took a side trip to Pioneertown, a replica of an old western town built in 1946 as a set for Gene Autry movies as well as several others. It has been maintained as a tourist attraction complete with a "shoot out" held on weekends from April to November, when they are open for the tourism season. For now, we were just satisfied to talk to a couple of friendly locals who provided us with some of the history. We had an interesting day exploring some of the attractions here and we completed it when we returned to the RV park by having a relaxing swim in the pool. Ya, I'd say we had a pretty great day!