Joshua Tree National Park, Day One

On March 23, Lucas and I drove several hours from San Diego to Joshua Tree National Park. We camped at Black Rock Canyon, which is one of only two campgrounds in the camp that can be reserved online through the National Park system. This time of the year is the most busy at Joshua Tree; the yuccas are in bloom and the temperature is near perfection, though nights get quite cool. I had reserved the campsite in October and arriving at the Park, I was happy I planned that far in advance – every campsite was full and folks were still being turned away. After we checked into our campground, we adventured into the park.

Suddenly, we were surrounded by a Suessian landscape of huge, yellow boulders and twisted, spiky trees. It was beautiful and otherworldly. We took several short hikes into the landscape, scrambling boulders slowly like sun-drunk lizards.






The Yucca blooms were amazingly solid, like a succulent rather than a flower. Apparently this spring was an intense flowering season, unlike any other spring seen in the past five years. The heavy blossoms dotted the landscape, protruding from every limb on on some trees.





Soon, we found ourselves on a bluff overlooking the San Andreas fault running through the Coachella Valley. From this vantage point, I could almost trace the fault with an imagined dotted line.



Perhaps one of the most stunning sights in the park was the Cholla Cactus Garden visited during that golden hour before sunset. These plants hurt, man! Months afterward, I still have scars on my shins after walking into some crazy cactus that, I swear to God, shot spikes into my flesh through thick jeans and socks. Lucas had to pull them out; they were barbed at the end and required an extreme amount of force to be plucked from my leg. Thankfully, the blood was minimal.




Lucas tempting fate with a danger ball– these little spiny guys fall from the mature plants to root and grow in surround soil.


We made our way back to the campground as the sun set. What a gorgeous sight! There’s nothing quite like sunset in the desert.


The next morning, we planned on leaving 6AM for a mini-road trip to the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain…

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