Spending a day driving through the desert and Joshua Tree National Park was a unique experience for us as we have never spent any time in the desert. It is full of wonders most of us never see unless we travel to this part of the country. On our trip through the Park, we saw many different kinds of cactus. It is full of "prickly" plants! Joshua Tree’s nearly 800,000 acres were set aside to protect the unique assembly of natural resources brought together by the junction of three of California’s ecosystems. The Colorado Desert, which is a low desert and hotter and dryer than the nearby Mojova desert. It is a western extension of the vast Sonoran Desert, which occupies the southern and eastern parts of the park. It is covered with creosote bush and smoke tree which looks soft and fuzzy from a distance and kind of ghostlike but when you get up next to it, it has 2-3 inch long barbs. It has small cactus plants, some of which are called "Teddybear" cactus because they LOOK soft and fury until you stand next to them. The Sonoran portion of the park is home to the Joshua Tree, spike-like ocotillo plants and “jumping” cholla cactus. Do you know how the Joshua Tree got it's name? According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Can you name some of the reptiles that live in the park? There is a desert tortise, 18 different kinds of lizards and 25 different kinds of snakes! 2 Big Horn Sheep ran across the road right in front of us (our first). We were disappointed that the flowers and cactus were not yet in bloom but were told by the Rangers that dues to the record amounts of rainfall and cool weather this year, they would be blooming in about 2 weeks.