Today's adventure consisted of a 7.6 mile hike from Cottonwood Springs to Lost Palms Oasis, with a 2 mile chunk of the Mastodon loop trail thrown in for good measure.
The Lost Palms Oasis, as the name suggests is a real oasis - after 3.5 miles of hiking through the desert, you come upon these large palm trees that just don't belong in the burnt landscape.
I was a bit nervous from the route description that the trek to Lost Palms was going to be a single, unchanging landscape. This turned out to be the farthest thing from the truth. We walked among impossible heaps of rocks, groves of desert trees, small canyons and other desert features. All along the way we were treated to amazing views of the mountains in the distance. It's amazing how frequently the terrain could change in just a few miles.
By including the Mastodon trail we even came across the remains of an old mine. I'm going count that as my historic encounter for the day.
All in all, I can't recommend this trail enough. Even though it was in a part of the park without Joshua Trees, it was still an excellent way to see the area. It probably helped that the weather cooperated - the sun kept us warm through the day, the a chilly breeze kept us from overheating.
After two days of traipsing through the park, I so owe Shira a day of relaxation. I have a feeling she's going to collect tomorrow.