Road trip #5: Joshua Tree National Park
So the road trip begins..or so it began. I have big plans to expand this blog- so let me take a moment to let everyone outside of my Facebook friends/family to do some quick explaining. Each summer, my best friend and I throw everything into a car and drive around the country for about a week. We drive thousands of miles- usually from one National or State Park to the next- on a budget. Most of our trips have averaged about $500/per person- which includes the gas, excursions, permits, lodging, food etc. I find the more hiking we have done-- the more we are willing to spend cash on delicious food that is not cooked on our camp stove and motel rooms that have BEDS and SHOWERS. If we stuck to our lentils/cup noodles/tuna/granola bar diet in our tent we would be spending less, but hating life more.
The purpose of these trips? The list is long. But near the top of that list, you'll find 'spending time together' and 'running away'. Celeste lives in Phoenix, AZ and I in Kansas City, MO. We look forward to this trip ALL YEAR. Not only do I love camping, hiking, and the freedom of living on the road- I also love spending all of my time in a smelly car laughing with my best friend. These trips have shaped my life in ways I never expected- and this one was no exception. (more on this later :) Being our 5th road trip, I wanted it to be special and different. So this year we took on a couple more challenges: 1) carrying most of our belongings in backpacks instead of packing everything we own 2) backpacking trip in the mountains 3) finding lots of free camping instead of betting on reservations 4) travelling within one state and visiting each park for longer duration 5) incorporating other humans.
Anxious to leave the weather in Phoenix, we left for Joshua Tree before lunch. The drive was 3 hours and some change. Celeste had been wanting to go to Joshua Tree NP for a while. Our consensus: meh. Mid-June, Joshua tree isn't much cooler than Phoenix. And while it was really beautiful- it was also really hot and lacking a fundamental element- water. Not to mention the bees that constantly trapped themselves in our tent and car any chance the door was open. We cranked the A/C and drove through the park, stopping here and there to get out. The photo above is from the Cholla Garden. We walked a path about a quarter of a mile in and turned around once we realized we saw all of the cholla cacti in one-hundred-degree weather that we could handle. Beautiful! and uncomfortable.
We found a great spot at the campground that provided a little shade and hung out around camp watching the sun fall out of the sky. The weather became cool-but far from cold. We made dinner and watched as people all around us crawled onto the giant boulders that cover the campground. We climbed up too. There were groups of people on top of different boulders in nearly all directions, taking videos or selfies or photos of the views. We slept with the text wide open and packed up early the next day- excited to escape the heat and camp in forest.