Immediately when you enter the sacred beauty of this sequestered desert resort you understand why Joshua Tree Oasis has become a global phenomenon. People from all continents have sought out this pristine place of peace and tranquility from season to season. But even though they celebrate Josh for reasons known only to them—anniversaries, proposals, family escapes, escapes from family, off-the-chart passion (for nature, beauty, romance/laughter/rock`n roll) what they probably don’t realize is that “The Ancients” have been celebrating life here wayyyy lots longer. Some of them since close to forever.
Who are “The Ancients?” They may not be of the dinosaur kind, but some of them sure look like it. And some have rubbed shoulders or feet or been munched on by those of the Jurassic ilk. Just a glance from your deck lounge chair, hammock, or bubbling Jacuzzi and you can see them—some if you’re lucky, many if you just sit and watch and listen and breathe them all in.
They’re either basking upon, growing within, slithering or lumbering across the magnificent Joshua Tree Oasis landscape—just like they and their ancestors did eons ago. Look closely and you might even see what appears to be moveable boulder: the desert tortoise. Every aspect of this gentle being evolved to survive the most grueling desert existence foraging on a feast of cactus, forbs, dried grasses and wildflowers—socking away a storage of fat and water enough for the rest of the year. If left alone (don’t surprise it or it could lose all its precious water supply and dehydrate) the desert tortoise could live 80 to 100 years.
Beneath your feet as you hike through the well-worn paths teasing you to climb and explore everywhere are a wealth of granite rock formations glistening with sparkling quartz, mica and feldspar. They were formed from what was once rushing waters in the pre-history of the Oasis over a million years ago. Tucked into outcroppings or basking on sunny inclines you could easily find yourself eye-to-eye with another living Ancient, the harmless Chuckwalla lizard doing display push-ups, or munching on leafy fruits, yellow flowers and insects.
But it’s the desert scrubs and cacti that are truly Ancient-worthy—like the great cholla forests packed with over 20 species of cacti; the most endearingly famous one of all, the Joshua Tree yucca looking ever so much like a Dr. Seuss creation. And the most common desert plant, the creosote bush goes back in time upwards 9,000 years—making it the oldest living life form of all. The creosote gives off that unique odor when a thunderstorm begins to form on the horizon. You know that “it-smells-like-it’s-about-to-rain” smell? That’s the creosote bush being scent-sational when moistened by rainwater. And apparently it’s been doing that since just about the beginning of time.
So as you begin your unwind from there to here leaving your cares behind and embracing the majesty of this acclaimed vacation hideaway, give yourself a moment to celebrate the original inhabitants of Josh. They’ve known for years and years and years what a great place this is. We’re glad they stayed. Welcome to the past…and enjoy this extraordinary present.