I spent several days rock climbing in the Joshua Tree National Monument over the Thanksgiving holiday. In a word, “amazing.” This place is so other worldly. I felt like I was visiting a distant planet with a landscape I had never seen before. The fields of odd thorn infested shrubs and desert plants rolled on for miles and the iconic joshua trees stood in congregations interspersed through out them. Framing this rugged terrain were artful mounds of golden brown granite, eroded over millennia, with extremely crisp and contoured rock surfaces just tempting the bold adventurer to scale their heights.
The climbing as very fun (and terrifying as usual, see my other climbing posts) and my arms could barely pick up my luggage after the three days. The trip, however, not only afforded me some great climbing but a return to landscape photography which I had loved doing very much when I had first become a photographer.
A couple of brief fun facts: The “Internet” states with some confusion that the Joshua Tree received its name from Mormon pioneers heading west and saw the tree as symbolizing the Biblical figure Joshua, Moses’ right hand man, arms raised towards the heavens and leading them to promised land. This article had a decent differing perspective and leads to a conclusion that the name still appears to a mystery.
What I can safely say is that in modern pop culture we all are most familiar with the famous U2 “The Joshua Tree” album made in the 80’s with the dramatic photos taken by Anton Corbijn. You can actually find the real tree that was in the album jacket but apparently it has died and has become some sort of a U2 hidden shrine. The album photos weren’t actually taken in the park but somewhere off in the Mojave where the band had been driving through on a tour.
For some other great photos taken by my photog friend James Elliott around the same time and just over a few mountains in Death Valley click here!