Whew, what a day. I’m finally crashing after driving over 400 miles.

My stay over in Tucson was awesome. I was extremely happy to reconnect with my old friend from high school. He just has the best character ever and was a super welcoming host. I also was treated to the awesome experience of hanging out with folks in a small group again and eating food out, and he has a tight knit friend group, all of whom are vaccinated. It felt like such a breath of fresh air after not even realizing how hard the last year had been on me. I’m really looking forward to welcoming that same energy into my life when I return home.

That said, at a point I had to break my inertia and leave. I departed today, after a week and a half in Tucson. I finished up some work and then hit the road to travel west, hoping to catch Joshua Tree National Park before sunset.

The drive West lasted almost six hours, and as I haven’t been used to driving so much, my back is killing me now. So I’m enjoying this moment to lie on my stomach in the back of the car to write this. Anyway, it was a nice drive, with views of the desert, and only a bit of traffic as I passed through Phoenix.

I entered Joshua Tree from the East and, which has a long winding road traveling through the desert, through sand dunes and mountains.

I learned that Joshua Tree is a national park wherein two distinct desert ecosystems intersect, the Colorado desert and the Mojave. This bodes well for the diversity of organisms in the park.

One of the neatest parts of traveling through the park was stopping at the Cholla cactus forest, and stepping through this sandy area where a bazillion spiny, goofy little trees were growing.

Just look at these lil guys!

As I continued driving through the park, the landscape became rockier, and the desert’s trees started sprouting up out of the ground.

Whenever I first encountered one of the more fully grown Joshua trees, I had to pull over! Definitely cooler than I expected, and soon, the view was totally consumed with twisted, gnarled desert trees.

I made the drive down to Keys point, racing the setting Sun. The view of the Coachella valley below did not disappoint.

It was a short stop due to the time constraints of the setting sun, but definitely worth it! I’m looking forward to learning more about, and revisiting the area.