Sunday, April 10, 2011

General Patton Museum, Joshua Tree National Park & The Salton Sea

The other day we took a little side trip to the General Patton Museum, Joshua Tree National Park and the Salton Sea.  The General Patton Museum and Joshua Tree national Park are only about 1 hour from Blythe. 
General Patton and his Dog
The desert from here all the way to Blythe was used as the California Training Area. 

Little yellow flower blooming under a tank in the desert
US Medal of Honor recipients in Coachella Valley

Replica of the Memorial where Patton is buried in Europe
Cactus in bloom

We are lucky enough to be in the Joshua Tree National Park while the desert is in bloom.  We hiked the Mastedon Trail which was about 3 miles from where we started.  When we got to the end of one of the merging trails we found a sign that said from that point the trail was 1.2 miles.  Diamondback rattle snakes were emerging from their winter slumber; however, we never saw one (thank goodness)!

Cottonwood Spring Fan Palm Oasis   

On the trail to Mastodon Peak

View of the Colorado Desert 

View from Mastedon Peak


Look closely for the Zebratail Lizard 


Part of the Mastodon Mine

Mastodon Mine 

Mesquite Tree
The rock in the Park is called Monzogranite

White Wild Rose

A little "field" of blue bells in the Dry Wash 

A blue bell and a sand verbena  

Ocotillo, a plant typical of the ColoradoDesert

Palo Verde bush

Another Brittlebush
 After we hiked through some of the Joshua Tree National Park we decided to head toward the town of Mecca and have lunch.  We ate some of the best Mexican food I think that I've ever had at the Plaza Garibaldi Restaurant.  We were the only Caucasians in the place and also the only non-Spanish speaking people.  The restaurant menu was in Spanish and English was in small type under the Spanish.  It was very very good food!

We then traveled on to the North Shore of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.   The Salton Sea lacks any outlet, with inflow from only a few sources, the Whitewater River to the North, the Alamo and New rivers to the South, runoff from surrounding agricultural fields, and some municipal effluent and storm water.  Growing concentrations of salt may cause all but the hardy Tilapia to stop reproducing.  As salinity increases, dissolved oxygen in the water decreases, making the sea unsustainable for most species of fish.  Less food for the over 400 species of migrating birds that travel through the area each year.   The lake smells terrible (a sulfur smell).

Migrating Pelicans

Another Pelican

View from Varner Harbor

Varner Harbor Picnic Area and Beach 

Sea Gull

View of the Salton Sea

Fishing for Tilapia


  1. I've been to both places Joshua Tree and Salton Sea. There's nothing like the desert in bloom is there? Great timing! Glad you're still seeing it all despite the diesel prices. My first summer trip is on Memorial Day, heading over to a wedding in Indiana. :) Kelly

  2. Beautiful pictures! Thank you. I have been to Joshua Tree but, unfortunately, not when the desert was in bloom. Are you two becoming a pair of desert rats out there in the sun? You know that MInnesowta people go crazy in the sun. If you are in Alaska in July, you will also have the good fortune to see the mountain valleys in bloom. They are spectacular fields of wild flowers that resemble flax fields in bloom. Each mountain valley has a different variety of dominant plant and so each is a different color. When the wind blows, it looks like waves of color moving through the valleys. Have fun and keep us posted.