We had planned to hike in the Indian Canyons near Palm Springs our last day there, however
I had a little fall while going down the stairs to the pool (looking for Elvis?) the day before so I wasn't quite up to hiking. Instead we headed for a another soak at the mineral pools at desert Hot Springs before going on to Joshua Tree National Park. These strange Dr. Seuss like trees grow here in abundance, and that, combined with the unusual rock formations make for a very interesting landscape. We decided to buy a National Parks passport so we could get our first stamp, which I hope will be just one of many.
We stopped here for a short walk, enjoying the many rock climbers who find this to be a great place for climbing. I stopped to sketch here, while Jim walked a little further. The air was cool and clear and it felt great to have the sun on our backs.
This was the great hotel where we stayed in Palm Springs, The Caliente Tropical, just down the street from the ultra cool Ace, but ours had the distinction of hosting Elvis and Nancy Sinatra in the heyday of Palm Springs. We left here in the morning, palm trees and sunny skies, and headed North Highway 395.
We passed through desert landscape and some ghost towns along the way, and I found this cactus outside of an abandoned building. From there we stopped at Manzanar, the sight of a former "Relocation Camp" where thousands of Japanese were taken during WWII. There is not much still there, aside from the high school gym which houses an information center. However the National Park Service has taken this project on, and has begun to rebuild the site. This was a sad, and interesting stop along the way.
By the end of the day, after passing Mammoth and Mono Lake, we were in a wintry landscape, surrounded on all sides by imposing snow covered peaks. It was a spectacular drive, and described as one of the most scenic drives in California. I would like to see it in the Summer, but can't imagine that it would be as dramatic as at this time of the year.