Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

Still heading west and trying to catch points of interest in California. First thing we have learned is that California is a huge state with many, many points of interest.  The second thing we learned was that we have to manage our time and destinations according to the weather.  There are many high mountain ranges , even in Southern California., and it is still winter.

But, Eustis is up to the challenge!! Up from the desert floor of Borrego Springs to Jojoba Hills Escapee park in Aguanga, Ca, elevation about 2,000 feet.

The road to Aguanga is over some twisty mountain roads.

Population is mostly Big Horn sheep.

Jojoba Hills is considered by many to be the nicest Escapee park of all.  Our tour with Joe certainly underscores that evaluation.  The park was built by Escapee volunteers in the early 90's. A 25 year anniversary is scheduled for next February. The park was built on a hill on 148 acres and we are very impressed by the engineering mindset that planned the infrastructure for this wonder.

Everything was overplanned, in the sense of huge drainage pipes, backup water tanks, buried cables, and on.

To match California tax codes, there are only 2 units per acre.  Even nicer, the hill allows for a feeling of terracing, enabling most units to have wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.

For those who know California, the park is only about 14 miles east of Temecula.

There are still some original members in the park who proudly show off the work they did.  A group of women worked with rock formations ( the Rockettes). 

There are numerous comittees to maintain the park and it all seems to work very well.

A happy lizard by the pool. 

There are six ponds in the park, the main purpose to contain any flooding.  But they all are well taken care of with plantings and ducks.

With the drought in California, it was interesting to note that Jojoba has its own wells that are still filling well from a good independent aquifer.

While there are some plantings that require a bit of water, most of the plantings are now native species, requiring very little watering.

All of these plantings are helped by a system of drip hoses.

There are all kinds of resources for members. This is a part of the library. Hundreds of books and dvds in a very comfortable room.

Also available are sewing rooms, craft rooms, exercise rooms, card rooms, a big get together hall and kitchen, tennis courts, gardening area, woodworking building, metal building, and car repair building.

The main building has a wonderful view from the pool area.  All areas are well used. The pool, hot tub, and spa are heated.

The local flowers are quite happy.

They sometimes have a waxy look which is a way for the plants to conserve moisture. Yes, they are very real.

Bright colors.

All campers here are member of Escapees.  As a coop, they can buy into a space for $30,000.  This buy in is returnable if and when they leave.  There is a waiting list for the coop spots.  Visitors like us can stay in boondocking( we did) for $5 per night. Or, they can stay in owners sites than have been made available for rent---the owners are away.

Owners pay about $253 per month for expenses.

Some ponds are quite elaborate.  The owners are quite proud of this pond.

We loved this park, but it is quite a distance from New England.  Who knows?  Family and friends can visit!

Time to move on to Joshua Tree.

Close to Temecula is this metal sculpture.

And yes, it is by the same artist as Borrego Springs.

His studio is close by.

A road picture.

Just a small ranch house on a hill.

North to Route 10 and Indio, where you see hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines or wind farm.

And, what a change.  We climb to about 4,000 to 4400 feet elevation.

Joshua Tree offers us warm days close to 80 degrees and nights in the 40's.

We are steered to Jumbo Rocks campground which is a first come campground, no reservations

Lady Blue is quite happy.

The campground has only pit toilets.  There is no fresh water or dump station.  We are happy to be self contained, we can easily go 7 days now.  However, the weekend brings many tenters, eager to rock climb.

There are many signs of animal life at Joshua Tree.

Squirrels and lots of birds.

This hummingbird is quite happy with early Spring buds.

The Joshua Tree.

They grow  at elevations between 3,000 to 5,000 feet.

Our campground is at about 4,000 feet and there is a high meadow that has a huge forest of Joshua Trees.

They are a member of the Agave family.

This huge rock formation is a favorite for serious rock climbers.  The picture shows different routes up the rock face and the use of climbing gear.

Bruce and Jan will skip the serious rock climbing.

Even Eustis likes the Joshua trees.

Bruce and Jan, however, will climb some rocks.

Hi Bruce!  Careful up there!

Kind of like a playground for kids and adults.

On the weekend you would see all kinds of people on top of the highest rocks.

Do you see the climber on top of the rock?  He was very excited, calling back and forth with a partner below.

Know what this rock is called?

Yep.  Skull Rock.

Most formations are a result of granite , being worn away by erosion over thousands of years.

Lots of information for geologists.

Careful on those rocks Bruce.

No, you are not allowed to climb to the very top!!!

Now Jan, you can climb higher.

Oh yes, the problem as we get older is often coming down, not going up.

We are always thinking of Emilie, Madison, and Lucas.  They would all love these formations which include all sizes of caves and tunnels. 

Just keep in mind, Jan, that there are a number of poisonous snakes , scorpions, and other creatures in this area.

Jan has found her own Joshua tree.

Nope, won't fit in Lady Blue.

Looking down at our campground , you can understand the name Jumbo Rocks.  The campsites are well fitted into and around the rocks.
One of our favorite views was from the high point in Joshua Tree called Keys View.  The hazy look is from all of the pollution in California, but this was a clearer day than most.  We are looking west and the valley rift marks a line of the San Andreas fault.  Some note is made of serious earthquakes as recent as the 1990's.

No comments:

Post a Comment