Joshua Tree did not present the abundance of flowers as did Anza Borrego. Perhaps it was a bit too early although nothing seen held very much promise. The first couple days were windy but it quieted down and was very nice afterward. We putzed along the road from one camp ground to the next each day and was able to get a spot every time...until Friday. By then we ran out of campgrounds and was forced to leave the park. The Ranger lady at Black Rock campground (which was reserved out) told us of Joshua Tree Lake RV campground north of Twenty-nine Palms. In dire need of showers we went there not knowing what to expect. The place is out in the middle of the desert, nothing around, only a half a dozen campers present and surprisingly not bad at all. It is very peaceful and quiet here. So it is sad to be leaving the deserts.
We looked long and hard for a Desert Tortoise while driving along the road at a road hazard pace, but never saw one. I did find a couple of their burrows on hikes so they are here.
Jane found a Chuckwalla (or he found her, I wasn't too sure how it all came to be) which was very photogenic allowing her to get quite close to photograph. I went by later and found a second which posed for me.
I was able to get in a few hikes and walkabouts at each camp. One of them was several miles into the desert to see an abandoned homestead and mine a couple told me about. I was able to locate the homestead or what was left of itthen proceeded to search out the mine. After about thirty minutes of scrambling around I was ready to give up when I finally discovered the hole in the ground with an iron grate covering it. Mission accomplished, now to head back...but where is the trail? I spent another 15 minutes searching before thoughts of "Missing Hiker in Desert Presumed Dead" began circulating my mind. I decided to follow the wash up the canyon for I knew once I got to the saddle of the ridge I could pick up the trail there...or so I thought. Fortunately I looked up the slope of the ravine to my right and I saw a 4x4 post standing upright half way up. This was a trail marker. Even more fortunately for me I had been replacing these posts in their upright position as I had walked along the trail for many had been knocked over by idiots. Had I not replaced this one I would have walked up into the wrong canyon. It would have been a very long day for me indeed.