Day 2 – Holes With a View

It occurred to me after I finished yesterday’s post that you might wonder just how we went about planting trees across that burned out ridge. Since we spent today “plowing” the same ground, I decided to provide a step by step explanation of just what goes in to planting a Joshua Tree.

Step One
Dig a Hole.
It sounds simple, but, here in the desert, the ground fights back. Using tools ranging from a pick-axe, to shovels, to our gloved hands, we worked steadily to provide these seedlings with permanent homes.

Step Two
Place plant in the hole.
Once you’ve vanquished the desert dirt, the next step is to remove the seedling from its sheath, and give it a hearty drink of water.

Step Three
Dry Water
Does it sound like an oxymoron? It isn’t, it’s science. Using a hydrated form gelatin, the Park Service provides enough water for every plant to last two months. It’s a good thing too; Joshua Tree National Park gets less than 12 inches of water annually.

Step Four
Fill the Hole
Though the task itself is pretty simple, sometimes things get complicated by the appearance of animals like scorpions around the hole.

Step Five
Install Theft Prevention System
Rough as things are in the desert, I suppose we can’t blame the rodents who live around here for nibbling at our seedlings, but, if they were allowed to have their way, none of the plants would make it to adulthood. Sorry boys, you’ll have to find your food someplace else.

Step Six
Happily Gaze on Your Progeny
Like any proud parent, it takes a while to let go, but, all good things must come to an end.

After planting, several of us went bouldering on the rock face that overlooks our campsite. Climbing steadily, we reached the top of the formation after about 30 minutes. Looking out over the desert, we were struck by the immensity of the Park, and just how small our camp is in it. Feel free to take a look at the picture posted here to see just what we saw from up there.

Tomorrow, look forward to hearing about the sights that make Joshua Tree a household name in the climbing world.