Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventures in Joshua Tree

We're back from a long weekend in Joshua Tree National Park. We had a fabulous weekend and have close to 500 pictures to prove it. I've gone through them and picked my favorite to share with you! 

First things first, I'm so relieved to share that backpacking wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. This is due in part to the fact we took a lot of smaller hikes with only a day pack. Although heavy to carry, backpacking really forces you to bring less stuff. It's amazing how little you really need to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience camping. 

Here is a photo of us with our big packs. Clearly the smiles indicate we're having a good time but also that we haven't actually started walking yet (you can see the reflection of the car in B's glasses)

Happy Campers
True to the name, the highlight of the park is the Joshua Trees! Although they all have the same basic characteristics, they are shaped a little different. Their uniqueness was hard not to talk about and photograph. Don't you think Dr Seuss must have gotten inspiration from them? 

Although the contrast of the trees to the sand and rocks was pretty, my favorites are the sunset and dusk photos with the silhouette of the trees. The first photo of this post is my favorite from the entire trip, and I'm proud to say I took it! Second favorite photo is the one just above (happy campers). Here are a few others of the trees:

Not only did we luck out with great weather - lots of sunshine and high 70's - we also were there just in time to witness all the spring flowers! At one point, as seen in the first photo, we were walking through an area covered in little white and yellow flowers. As you can imagine, I was loving it!

One of our camping traditions is to play cards. When the sun goes down, and in this case you can't have a campfire, it's the perfect easy to pack & fun to play activity. We forgot our own cards, so we bought a souvenir pack at the gift shop. Game of choice was Gin-Rummy. B won by a landslide on Friday and I came back to beat him on Saturday. The Lackore family are skilled card players, so I always feel extra proud when I win...even if my victory was not by a landslide. 

Much to my delight, the moon was bright and beautiful both nights. While it meant we didn't see quite as many stars, I was happy to be in the company of such a full moon! Pictured below is not only the moon, but the two places we camped. 

The first night we stayed just off the Geology Trail. Our hike from the car was 2-3 miles, which was far enough to be in the middle of no where. While there we only saw one other group way off in the distance. We did see a jack rabbit, lizards, crows and a swarm of bees. Once the sun went down, I'll admit, I was scared and wanted to play cards in the tent. 

The second night we camped a little closer, off the Boy Scout Trail, to civilization and some big rocks, which helped with the wind (which kept us up the first night). I definitely liked our second spot best! I enjoy being outside and camping, but being alone in the middle of the desert, although beautiful, was a little creepy. 

On one of our day hikes, at Skull Rock, we wandered into an area where people had made rock art. Lots of names spelled out in rocks and in this case - a heart!

All in all, great experience backpacking and enjoyable trip to Joshua Tree! If you haven't already been, I recommend adding it to your places to visit. 

1 comment:

kaci j said...

oooh, my fav pic is the moon over the campsite. those colors are gorgeous. you've inspired me to try backpacking! and to work on my gin rummy.