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Photographer's Note

Joshua Tree National Park is a huge (794,000 acres), and very rich environment for landscape photography. Located approximately 100 miles east of Los Angeles, California, this park is made up of two deserts, two large ecosystems primarily determined by elevation. The Colorado Desert (part of the Sonoran Desert) occupies the eastern half of the park, and is the low desert, primarily below 3000 ft (910 m). It is dominated by the creosote bush, with stands of spidery ocotillo and cholla cactus.
In June while I visited, I found the higher, cooler and wetter Mojave Desert on the west side of the park to be more comfortable and more interesting with extensive stands of the Joshua Tree and rugged mountains of twisted rock and exposed granite monoliths. In fact, Joshua Tree is crisscrossed with hundreds of faults, and is a great place to see raw rocks, the effects of earthquakes, and millions of years of erosion. Huge eroded boulders settled one on top of another, creating the very impressive and photogenic rock piles we see today.

I took this photo at Squaw Tank about 9 miles down the Geology Tour Road, which is an 18-mile, self-guided driving tour along a dirt road winding through some of the park's most fascinating rockscape. 4-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended beyond Squaw Tank. The yucca plant, with its thick woody stems and spiky sword shaped leaves, stands in stark contrast to the pile of softly rounded boulders, seemingly tossed in a heap by some giant, prehistoric being. Again, a great blue sky, common in the desert southwest.
The yucca plant was used by the American Indian in many ways, including to wash hair, to make soaps and medicines for use on sunburn, scratches and cuts. It was also used to dye yarn and parts of the plants were used to make designs on paintings, baskets and other arts and crafts.

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Additional Photos by Tim Kathka (tkfun45) Silver Note Writer [C: 7 W: 0 N: 16] (113)
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