Wednesday, May 16, 2018

camping in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National's where the cool kids go. It's just an hour away from Palm Springs, California. And it's the perfect quick detour on the route from LA to Vegas. Never have I been to a place with so many hipsters and professional photo shoots. It's the place to be. But the true cool kids do this park just right with camping here. At least we think so. 
We spent 8 nights on the West Coast, staying in some pretty nice hotels, but nothing beat camping under the stars in Joshua Tree.

Driving into the park and seeing the most unique Joshua Trees right away. We instantly knew that we were going to be guaranteed a good experience. 
We of course had to make a quick stop for our classic national park sign photo together.
Our first day in the park, we did several hikes including Hidden Valley, Wall Street Mill, Barker Dam, and The Hall of Horrors. 
happy to follow him anywhere...especially hiking

Oh, just some casual rock climbing! 
Playing around on the fun boulders and rock scrambles is one of the best parts of the park. 

We hiked up to the Wall Street Mill where they processed all the gold from the mines found in the area. I love that this national park offers a glimpse of both nature and history. 

getting lucky enough to spot some wildlife in the desert 

Couldn't get enough of these gorgeous unique Joshua Trees 
Finding water in the desert...such a rare occurrence. Even more rare, is finding your soul mate. 
After a full first day of hiking, we settled in for the evening at camp. Sometimes campsites can feel separate from the place you're visiting. So I loved that our campsite was nestled right amongst the boulders and Joshua Trees that make this place so well known. 
Mandatory Campfire!
They have a saying at Joshua Tree--"half the park is after dark" and it's so true. There is absolutely no light pollution for miles and miles, so you have a chance to see the stars shining so brightly. You can easily spot constellations and see the Milky Way with your naked eye. 
And lucky us, we were camping next to the sweetest family whose hobby just so happens to be astronomy. They travel with a massive telescope that they invited us to look out of. We got to see other galaxies and planets because the night sky there was so clear. We would not have had this experience if we weren't camping in the park, so this made me feel extra grateful. 
Unzipping our tent the next morning to this incredible view.
And a cup of morning coffee at camp before staring our day 
We headed into town for a hot breakfast, but first made a stop at the cutest bathhouse for showers 
We found this dental office along the way. Obviously, I had to take a pic at what will hopefully be my future practice some day. Ha! I think I've got the dentistry part down, just need to figure out boot repair. 
On Day 2, our first hike of the morning was rock scrambling at Skull Rock. There was a crowd of people attempting to climb the skull when we arrived. We watched for a while as everyone who attempted, failed. I hate having an audience, but I really wanted to give it a try. 
I heard some not so nice guys make comments about how I wouldn't make it, but I did on my very first attempt and ended up with a nice round of applause. I also made sure to give those rude people a wink and wave once I made it to the top. Always feels nice to beat the boys. 

We decided to make the best of our afternoon in the park by doing a secret hike
       It was worth every nerve-racking mile and moment of feeling lost in the desert. 
Especially when we found this 100+ year old home built right into the cliffs. 
Then one last stop in Joshua Tree before leaving California. 
We ended our day in the best way possible by watching the sunset at cholla cactus garden
It's normally so hard to leave a new place, but when we drove away from Joshua Tree National Park, I felt completely content. Even though we only had a short time here with just two days and two nights, I know we did this national park just right. 

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