Day two began with a hike to the 49 Palms Oasis. This three mile hike was listed as moderately strenuous. Admittedly, I felt it was pretty strenuous while I was hiking, but once we reached the oasis and started back, I was reinvigorated and felt it was, maybe, just moderate. Whatever, my hubby and kids are really good to me and praise me for all my little accomplishments. Being the oldest of the group, I really appreciate their consideration of me. At one point during the hike I commented that I was happy that my kids took good care of me. Brian countered with, "Well, if we take such good care of you, how do you explain the broken wrist last May?" That, my friends, was ALL my own faultI thought this was an odd little flower growing along the path.
One of the many rock formations we saw in the park.
When we arrived at the top of our first climb, which I thought was fairly gradual, this is the sight that greeted me. Everyone said, "Oh, Mom it's all downhill from here." All I saw was that if I went down there, I had to climb back up. I prayed all the way down that path that God would give me the grace and strength to make it back up. And, I was very quiet, worrying about my ability to succeed.
And then, an hour into our hike, there they were, 49 Palms. We didn't actually count them, but we are pretty sure there were at least 49 of them. It was amazing to see them all growing out in the middle of nowhere, in that dry and unforgiving desert.
We left 49 Palms and drove to the southern section of the park. Here the flora changes abruptly as we passed from the Mojave to the Sonora desert. Joshua trees were replaced with Cholla cactus and ocotillo plants.
At the Cholla Garden we walked through hundreds and hundreds of these prickly, very painful cacti. These plants are do not reproduce and are all clones.
This calico cactus is one of Brian's favorites as well as mine.
Our last hike of the day took us to another oasis of palms. This one was fairly close to the road. We did hike about a mile out from this oasis where we saw - nothing. We hiked back and rested while Gretchen and Brian continued on for another mile or so.
Although we were a little early for full desert blooms, we did manage to see a few lonely blossoms.
As you can see, we had a delightful sojourn in Joshua Tree, a wonderful trip made even better by being able to share it with our children.
Please continue to pray for our friends,
Matt and Erin as they mourn the loss
of their sons, Abel, Benjamin and Caleb.