I have been trying to find a weekend to go camping for months now, and – like most other goals I was trying to set for myself when I still had a job – I shoved my makeshift plans to the back of my mind until I had some time to get away. Little did I know that someday would never come. So here I am, with my three year compilation of adventures and day trips, a ton of time, and a boyfriend with an insatiable thirst for travel. The perfect storm? I would say so.
After I got off work on Saturday, we made our pilgrimage to an unchartered territory for us both: Joshua Tree National Park. When one plans to go camping, they typically envision a secluded, lush green landscape of conifers and freshwater streams. Well, this camping trip was very much the opposite. We spent one night at a self contained camp ground at a horse corral in Pioneertown, an old cowboy town complete with period actors and gun fights. But before setting up camp, we visited the infamous Pappy & Harriet’s (an institution in the desert world), where we caught a crazy live performance, some tasty libations and some bangin barbeque that would even make my Dad sweat with delight.
After enjoying a blazing hot fire under the misty moonlight and snoozing by the horsies, we packed up the car and drove out to the National Park. The sun was shining and temps were rising, so we filled our backpack with lots of water, sunflower seeds, and berries for our hike. After picking out a few sites we liked at Jumbo Rocks Campground, we parked the car at the trailhead to wait out the weekend rush and get our pick at a good site. We hiked the Skull Rock loop and wandered among what seemed like the set of The Flinstones. The setting was like a giant playground for grown ups, providing large climbing obstacles and picturesque viewpoints all along the desert. After a few hours under the desert sun, we returned to the campgrounds and found a site perfect for our rig. In little to no time, we had ourselves a happy little home, right in time for the sunset.
If that had been all, the weekend would have still been great. But the cherry on top of the cake came with the rising of the full moon on Sunday night. The way the rocks were illuminated in the moonlight was truly spectacular, and our little tent glowed well into the morning hours, when we had to call it and head back to reality.