After an inedible breakfast we arrived at the west gate park entrance.  Our first destination was the Barker Dam, which at times holds actual water, but on our visit was bone dry.  Nevertheless it was a lovely hike through boulder-strewn passages, cliffs, and caves some with primitive Native American etchings within.  We stood on a scenic overlook, gazing at a joshua tree covered plain. Eventually the trail looped us back to the car. 

Driving on, we descended into a long valley which in fact was also a crossing into a new desert.  The upper part of the desert is the Mojave and we were now entering the lower portion which is the Colorado Desert. It began to rain, a rare event in this environment and a unique experience for us.  The highlight of this lower desert was the Cholla Cactus Garden.  These other-worldly plants are a shocking greenish-white, in stark contrast to the drab barren soil that surrounds them. We walked silently through this surreal landscape in awe of these strange surroundings, unlike anything I had seen before.

 We continued down the road, rain pelting the car heavily.  We made a final stop at the Cottonwood Spring Visitor Center to buy a few postcards.  As we drove home we passed the “Valley of the Million Windmills” outside of Palm Springs on highway 10. I wish we could have spent at least another week in this awe inspiring park. 



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