Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Weekend in Joshua Tree

This past weekend the hubby, pup and I went to Joshua Tree with some friends. I tried to unplug from social media (only logging on a couple times to post a couple pictures to my Instagram feed so my parents knew we were still alive ;)) and just enjoy the surroundings, the moment, the people. With that said, I have a ton of pictures and videos I thought I'd share. Before going to Joshua Tree (we've been a couple times now because the hubby loves the rock climbing there) I always thought it'd be boring, barren and blah, but I promise you, the desert is pretty fantastic (and it is definitely growing on me!)!

Our friends had already planned their trip and when we were hanging out a couple weeks ago asked if we wanted to tag along. We are always down to camp so since all of the bedrooms in the AirBnB were already claimed, we threw the tent in the car and decided to make it a bit of a "glamping" adventure (seeing as we were able to use the kitchen for cooking, the bathrooms to handle our business, the pool/ hot tub for relaxing, etc). A little camping, a little modern comforts.

Backyard camping!

Not a rough place to "camp"

No one really had any specific plans of what they wanted to see or do, but since the pups were able to stay in the house, we wanted to make sure we hit up some of the trails. (FYI - Dogs are not allowed on the trails in Joshua Tree, which means that in the past we've had to forgo some of the hiking because we had Walt in-tow.) We did some research and decided we wanted to see Skull Rock and the Keys View, as well as hike to Barker Dam and Wall Street Mill.

I'd hike that...

The last time we were in Joshua Tree I remember we stopped by Skull Rock because it was literally just off the road. Well, this time we thought we'd follow the trail signs (there were arrows pointing you on a trail, but the signs didn't say WHAT they were directing you to) and took a MAJOR detour. Instead of the 300 feet from the street, we probably wandered around the desert for an hour looking for a rock with two "eyes". But, hey, it's all about the journey, not just the destination (especially because the rock was a bit underwhelming after all of the climbing, scurrying, hiking and searching we did).

Kevin and I along our "300 foot hike" - HA! More like a mile plus!

There it is... Skull Rock... Eh....

Temperatures were still manageable (the high was 92* on Saturday, but in the summer it's easily in the triple digits within the first few hours after the sun rises), but even still we tried to keep our hiking on the shorter side to make sure we weren't burning ourselves out or running out of water while on the trails. The hike to Barker Dam was about 2 miles round trip and we saw plenty of nature along the way. One of the guys with us is actually a nature nut (okay, that isn't his official title, but he works for the wildlife preserves in Santa Cruz and is super knowledgeable when it comes to the animal world and plant life) so it was awesome to have him there, pointing out specific creatures (and geeking out over our finds).

Not much of a dam or much water there, but it was still cool to see.

The rock formations in the desert are so cool!

Did you know the Joshua Tree only grows in the Mojave Desert?! Something about that specific elevation.

Some of the trees were super big!

Ryan and Kevin! Buddies!

These are the views from Keys View (looking down into the Coachella Valley).

Around this time it was getting a little toasty and our energy was starting to ween, so we figured it was a perfect time to head back to the house to enjoy some of the amenities (like the pool and kitchen), as well as let the pups out to go potty. The crew didn't realize it when booking the AirBnB, but it was right outside the Twentynine Palms entrance to Joshua Tree which made it super convenient (especially because the main entrance can get pretty busy on the weekends).

Walt wanted to get out of the sun so decided my lap was the place to check out...

A different kind of pool.

After some maxin' and relaxin', it was time to head back into the park. We thought the Wall Street Mill trail sounded promising and I would say it was one of my favorites of the day. Along the trail there were some jalopy cars, dilapidated structures, history of a gun fight and tons of trees, rocks and wildlife to see. The gold mill at the end was pretty cool too (it was used back in the 40s), even if you can't go in it. In total it was a little over 3 miles, but that's due to all of our detours to see other things along the route (I think it was supposed to be a little under 2.5 miles if you stayed true to the course).

I think we came across 3 or 4 old, rusty cars and trucks on this hike.

Checking out the scenery.

There were no signs, so we don't know what this building was originally, but it was still cool to explore.

The old gold mine.

My dad would call this picture "artsy", I just liked the extra dimension of the barbed wire in front of the mine and rocks.

PS Originally we thought heading out early, before the heat of the day would be the best time to explore, but we quickly realized that the late afternoon was pretty magical. We came back to the park, after our lounging at the pool, probably around 4:30pm and it was perfect. The weather was much more manageable, the lighting was much better for photos and the creatures seemed to be out and about. Obviously both times have their pros, but we all liked the afternoon best.

So grateful these guys invited the hubby and I to tag along on their trip.

We were hoping to be done with the Wall Street Mill hike about 30 minutes before sunset so we could drive to a nearby campground to get some awesome views, but with our detours and delays along the way we didn't finish soon enough. Even still, we were treated with some pretty spectacular sights of the desert at dusk.

The desert glow is oh so purrrrty!

The desert was blooming from all of the recent rain we've gotten.

Joshua Trees are pretty cool no matter the time of day, but their silhouettes at sunset are pretty spectacular! 

Sometimes sunsets aren't super exciting when the sky is clear, but the different colors on the horizon are still beautiful!

Goodnight Mr. Sunshine!

Eventually it was time to get back in the car and head to the house so we could make dinner and relax in the hot tub. (#RealTalk: Hot tubs gross me out. I don't like the thought of sitting in everyone's sweat so if I do get in one I can't stay for very long before I start thinking about it and get weirded out. With that said, I sat on the side and put my feet in ;))

Sunday morning the hubby was planning on doing some rock climbing/ bouldering in the park but by the time we got up, packed and ready to go, and he did some "research" on where he wanted to climb it seemed to be a little too late (meaning too warm), but we still drove through the park and enjoyed the views. We decided we'd head home instead of climb which meant we'd still have the afternoon to take care of some "adulting" and get ready for the upcoming week.

It wouldn't be a road trip without getting stuck in SoCal traffic and having the boys sleep through it all...

If you know me, you probably know that I do not enjoy spending money. With that said, buying our annual parks pass is one purchase that I never second guess. It is $80 {there are discounts for military, seniors, disabled, and 4th graders} and gets you entrance into the National Parks for a year (for entrance into Joshua Tree you would spend $30 {which allows you access for 7 days}, but that means if you plan to go to a National Park more than twice (or more than two separate Parks) you cover the cost of it - and even if you don't, the parks need our funding now more than ever!).

<3 National Parks are for lovers! <3 

It may have been a quick trip, but the memories made will last a lifetime! Now it's time to plan our next great adventure!

What is your favorite National Park?


erindegroff said...

Your pictures are gorgeous! We are planning a trip to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons at the end of June. Can't wait to hit some parks we've never been to! I've heard Glacier is amazing!

Organic Runner Mom said...

What a great trip. Joshua Tree looks gorgeous. I love that you glamped too!