by Gary Hawkins, March 8, 2017
We love Joshua Tree National Park. For this trip, we planned to split time between the Indian Cove Campground and an Airbnb located in Wonder Valley, near Twentynine Palms. However, it was so cold that we decided to extend our stay at the wonderful Rancho de Ardilla Airbnb and just use our reserved campsite during the day.
Joshua Tree National Park has many great places to visit. Below are a few of our favorite highlights from this trip.
Eureka Peak, Joshua Tree National Park
One of the reasons we bought our Toyota 4Runner was for its off-road capabilities. The drive along Lower Covington Flat towards Eureka Peak allows you to get away from the crowds on the park roads. It also provides the potential to see wildlife, and while we saw little more than birds this time through, I've seen Bobcats here before.
Off-Roading along the Geology Tour Road
Of course, solitude is not always what you find off-roading - this group of Jeeps must have numbered forty vehicles. We listened to their chatter on the CB as they snaked their way along the Geology Tour Road, finally heading out of the park through Beedoo Canyon.
Xaria Enjoying The Appropriately Named Skull Rock
Joshua Trees Are Ever Present in the Northern Part of the Park
Joshua Tree NP is, of course, famous for it's Joshua Trees and rocks. Come through the West Station Entrance and drive along Park Boulevard for outstanding views of both. If you have not had enough here take the road to Keys View. This vantage point offers views all the way to the Salton Sea.
Xaria is More Interested in a Doggie than the Camera at Keys View
Solar Viewing at the Sky's the Limit Observatory
A first for Sophia and I was solar viewing at the Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center close to the North Station Entrance. A docent was on hand when we visited and the images of the sun were fantastic with a large protuberance clearly visible extending from its side. The facility has a 14-inch scope for nighttime viewing, regularly hosts star parties and has a "human" Orrery. This is a scale model of the Solar System and demonstrates the motion of the planets as they revolve around the Sun. By walking out the motions of the planets, participants see first hand how the Solar System operates. I definitely recommend you go visit if you're in the area.
Star Gazing at Our B&B in Wonder Valley, Near Twentynine Palms
Even though several evenings were overcast, our stargazing did not come to naught. On those clear evenings, I set up our 8-inch Dobsonian reflector in the back garden of our BnB and we were treated to good views of Jupiter, several galaxies including Andromeda, and a multitude of star clusters.
Sophia's Favorite Place to Star Gaze at Our B&B!
To learn more about Airbnb and other sharing economy accommodation please check out Gary's book, A Life Redesigned.