After an incredible engagement session in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tim and I made the drive to Joshua Tree National Park. To make the most of our time, we woke up before the sun. This meant less people at popular spots, and beautiful lighting over the cacti and Joshua Trees. At sunrise the February temperatures were as low as 37°F warming up as the day went on.
We often drive into new locations at night, and did the same traveling to Joshua Tree. Night drives make your surroundings an incredible surprise when you wake up. This also meant the daylight drive back to Las Vegas was a completely new experience. We made a few stops along the way. Firstly an attempt to stop at the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve which was closed for road work. Tim and I opted for a few landscape photos from afar then continued on our way. This spot is for sure on our bucket list to return to in the future.
Our second stop was unplanned and wildly moving. We were just driving along when suddenly we were surrounded by thousands of Joshua Tree skeletons. In August of 2020 a large wildfire took over the Cima Dome. They say as many as 1.3 million Joshua trees were killed in the fire. Driving through the forest in the February of 2021 we couldn’t help but pull over and just stand in astonishment. On one side of the road was a thriving forest, but on the other was absolute destruction. It was devastating. But through the burn scars you could see the trees starting to sprout again. Little sections of green needles on top of the previously charred spines. Tim and I will forever be moved by the death and recovering life we saw there.
Check out these cool plants to look for in the gallery below.
Joshua Tree a yucca which grows as a tree and has clusters of spiky leaves, native to arid regions of southwestern North America.
Ocotillo grow on desert hillsides and look like bunches of spiny, crooked sticks. They produce clusters of bright red flowers at their stem tips, which explains the plant’s name which means “little torch” in Spanish.
Cholla Cactus also known as the “jumping cactus.” They are known for their barbed spines that tenaciously attach to skin, fur, and clothing.