Flirting with Joshua Tree National Park

Growing up on the rivers and lakes of the Midwest, I naturally fell in love with water. But recently, I’ve been flirting with deserts.

I think it’s something about extremes. I have always enjoyed the solitude of nature just as much as crowds at a concert. Compared to my normal weekends in the middle of the country, an extreme for me is a place like Joshua Tree National Park in California.

It was there, on a trip this March with my wife to Joshua Tree, I fell in love with the desert.

Joshua Tree and JoLee

Before I visited the deserts of the Southwest, I thought of it as a barren, expansive waste land. It sounded interesting, but not the kind of place I would bring my wife on vacation. This couldn’t be further from the truth — everything about the park is magical.

Cactus 1


The colorful, vibrant plants have become one of my favorite reasons to wander around in the desert.

Ryan Mt looking west

After a 1,000-foot climb up Ryan Mountain, the view was an awesome reward. Looking west, we could see the snow covered peaks of Mt. San Jacinto.

Rocks 4  Rocks 6

Rocks 5

Along with the unique Joshua Trees, the extraordinary rock formations are what make the park unforgettable. Hiking and climbing through the evidence of ancient geological forces is an awesome reminder of how old and powerful the landscape is.

Tree over Rock

As an amateur photographer, Joshua Tree National Park is an excellent place to study light and shadows.

Joshua Tree Metal Art

The art and culture of the Southwest is just as impressive as the natural beauty.


Being in Joshua Tree National Park not only gave me better understanding of how fragile the desert environment is, but it also gave me an appreciation and respect for the resources in my own backyard.

To see more Photos

-Thomas Malkowicz


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