Visiting Joshua Tree

Travel

Somehow, when picturing Joshua Tree National Park, I always thought of one lone Joshua tree. After all, if there were a lot of trees the tree would be plural, right? Oh how wrong I was. Joshua Tree National Park has more than one tree and is a vast desert.

One thing that overtook me about Joshua Tree (roughly 45 miles from Palm Springs, California) was how large it was. It seemed the desert could go on forever. It is actually made up of two deserts coming together to form the park. Below 3000 feet makes up the Colorado Desert or Eastern part of the park. The higher elevation makes up the Mojave Desert where the Joshua trees can be seen.

Skull Rock

When planning a trip to Joshua Tree, keep in mind the temperatures. We took our trip in December, which was a perfect time to go for pleasant hiking. Temperatures are in the 60’s Fahrenheit in December, dipping down cooler at night to somewhere in the 30’s. Spring is the most popular time of year at Joshua Tree due to the desert flowers in bloom. Summer would be the least desirable time to visit as it is a desert and the temperatures can get to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a bit warm to be hiking.

Joshua Tree has a lot of hiking trails and is a beautiful place to visit. At night the stars are plainly visible without any light pollution. If you want to see the stars at night pack a jacket, as it does get cold at night. There is nowhere to purchase food in the park, so pack a picnic and plenty of water. Be sure to pack a camera to capture this remarkable park. Happy Traveling!

Snow Year Round in Yellowstone

Travel

It’s summer and a great time to plan a vacation. Perhaps the perfect time to visit a national park. Wouldn’t Yellowstone be lovely this time of year?

My family and I set off for Yellowstone National Park in late June (we just got back). I checked the weather before leaving so I would know what to pack. I was expecting it to be on the cooler side but was blind-sided on our last day at the park when it started to snow. Snow in June! Really!

I spoke with a park ranger who greeted us with, “Welcome to the first day of summer”. I asked him if the weather was typical for this time of year. He said that it could snow every month of the year in Yellowstone due to the elevation. Oh!

Luckily, the day before, we traveled on a road that was now closed for the day due to the snow. On that particular road we had been lucky enough to see four bears. Timing is everything at Yellowstone.

Now for a few tips for having a good time at Yellowstone. First of all, be patient. Unexpected traffic delays can occur due to animal sightings by motorists. Also, it takes time to spot the animals you are hoping to see. Second, be flexible. Weather may close roads and rerouting your agenda may be necessary. If you are staying outside the park, you may want to consider stopping somewhere to get a picnic lunch to bring into the park. It is not likely to be around a restaurant at the time of lunch, although there are places to eat in the park if you plan for it. However, just in case you get stuck in traffic, be sure to have plenty of water and some snacks to tie you over. Lastly, be sure to prepare for all types of weather in the park. Remember, it can snow every month of the year in Yellowstone.

Where the Buffalo Roam

Travel

Hoping to see buffalo on your trip to Yellowstone National Park? You need not worry. I would say it would be difficult not to see buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo tend to roam the park in herds, however, can be found in smaller groups or even solo. Of the three days in the park, we saw buffalo every day. We visited Yellowstone at the end of June and there were a lot of baby buffalo. These little guys were a lighter caramel color and resembled baby cows. Terribly cute!

When visiting Yellowstone, allow extra time to get around the park. Why? Traffic jams occur, of which we were part of on more than one occasion. These traffic jams can cause cars to back-up for over an hour for sure. What causes these traffic jams? Animal sightings by people wanting to snap a photo and buffalo crossing the roads or standing in the road.

The really long traffic jams are most likely due to buffalo crossing the roads. Be especially carefully of the baby buffalo when they are walking along the road. They obviously do not have as much experience at crossing roads and while they tend to stick pretty close to their mother, will run a bit more sporadically into traffic.

We spotted one buffalo on his journey swimming across a body of water. He then approached two other buffalo and kicked up some dirt and made some vocals to the other buffalo. They eventually all settled down and seemed cordial to each other. Very interesting to see.

Buffalo are a huge animal. They are also a wild animal. Having said that, when you are in the park, be sure to give them their distance for a safe viewing experience. Enjoy nature at it’s best in Yellowstone National Park!