Many campers must have abandoned their campsites due to cold weather, because we find lots of firewood to scavenge as we tour and amass a bountiful horde for a big fire.
The warm fire makes a cold dinner a fine thing: fresh tortilla chips from the mercado in Mecca (small agricultural community at the north end of Salton Sea), guacamole, sharp cheddar, and Pacificos with lime.
The Arch as seen from the trail
Q: How cold is it?
A: It is so cold i saw a ranger putting chapstick on a mountain lion. -Alex
The best way to see Joshua Tree is to hike, but the weather isn't conducive, so we opt for a trip to Joshua Tree, the town. It is just outside the entrance gate to the north. To get out of the rain and catch up with email we invite ourselves into the Roadside Cafe. It is so very Californian. Sort of understated retro, but the food is really delicious. It is pouring rain outside - and there is a river of rainwater rushing along the street in front of the cafe. Before heading back to White Tank we stop to purchase some firewood at the grocery store - in case the rain stops and we can again have an evening outside. It doesn't.