It’s our nearest national park, yet it wasn’t until this past Sunday that the MINI Maniacs paid a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. Kudos to SCMM Event Director Craig Williams for planning a fun day of exploring this desert wonderland.
Located north of Palm Springs, the Park’s 800,000 acres encompass two desert ecosystems, the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The characteristics of each desert are determined by elevation, which ranges from 536 feet in the southeast to 5,814 feet atop Quail Mountain. Unlike many of America’s national parks, there are no services within Joshua Tree. No guest lodge, no cell service, no water, and no store. Other than a paved road, campsites and pit toilets, Joshua Tree is desert wilderness.
Thirty-six members turned out for the day trip, including a handful that arrived the day before to enjoy sunset in the Park, and spent the night in nearby Twentynine Palms. The official start of the run began at the Visitor Center in the town of Joshua Tree where Williams distributed maps and outlined the itinerary for the day during the drivers meeting. Once the customary group photo was taken, it was off to explore the Park.
From the highest viewpoint in the Park, Keys View, overlooking Coachella Valley, to Skull Rock, the Hall of Horrors, Jumbo Rocks and other popular sights, the MINI Maniacs made the most of the their time before returning to the town of Joshua Tree for a late lunch and the drive home.