When our beloved Entourage hero, Vincent Chase, has overdrawn his bank account and must decide whether to take an undesirable movie deal for $3 million, his agent suggests they go to a strip club to mull over the decision. Vince’s brother replies, “No No No, forget that, there’s only one place with real answers.”
What’s that one place? You guessed it, Joshua Tree. To the ancient peoples of the land, of course Joshua Tree had practical answers. They made use of over 121 plants for food, tools, and medicine, amongst other things. To the rock climber, Joshua Tree provides answers with over 400 climbing formations, from basic bouldering to 5.12 climbs. And, to the 18 million people who live hectic lives within a 3-hour drive of this protected desert, it’s where we go to set the record straight, to recalibrate when we’ve forgotten what’s important.
But when Minerva Hoyt, Joshua Tree’s equivalent to Yosemite’s John Muir, crusaded to make this land a National Monument in 1936, she didn’t have any of this in mind. She was a plant lover, plain and simple. The desert plants were being removed and replanted in Los Angeles landscapes. Minerva put her foot down.
We have come to refer to the park’s most notable plant as the Joshua Tree because some 19th-Centruy Mormon settlers thought the trees looked like Joshua with his arms stretched up in prayer. Many would argue the plant is wildly misnamed- it is neither full of grace nor is it a tree. Just as the plant is challenging to describe, the unearthly experience of a trip to this park is nearly impossible to illustrate. You must explore it for yourself, just don’t take any of the plants home with you!
For more information about the park, check here: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm