Joshua Tree National Park, or Those Dr. Seuss trees in the desert

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My route through the park

During my limited time in the beautiful lands of Death Valley, I took many a side trip. One of them was a day trip to another desert: Joshua Tree National Park.

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Leaving before the temperatures reached 100 degrees, I packed a day’s worth of food and a lot of water. I knew that my outing would be limited to very short hikes and scenic overlooks since hiking in the desert in the summer is dangerous, especially alone. I arrived in Twentynine Palms and entered the park after a quick stop in the Visitor’s Center.

After flashing the rangers in the flat hats my American the Beautiful annual interagency pass, I headed South through the park. I began my journey by visiting the large groves of Joshua Trees, trying to get nice photos with those iconic plants.

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I sweated and reveled in the silence of a National Park in its off season.

I hit up that large rock formation thing that I’m p sure co-starred in an episode of Entourage. Not wanting to do anything stupid, but still wanting to stretch my legs and demonstrate some strength to myself, I tried to find the perfect angle.

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I ventured off to do the 1-mile loop of Hidden Valley, very pleased with how cold my water was in the hot sun. 90% of the visitors to the park that day were here, eating lunch or taking a stroll.

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Knowing that Keys View was a must, I made the drive and slightly steep walk to the smoggy view of Coachella Valley. I struggled to take a photo for a fellow tourist who was kind enough to offer me the same service (her camera wasn’t set to autofocus).

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My second and final “hike” of the day was to Barker Dam where I met some Massachusetts residents repping the band, Guster, a favorite of mine. We had a nice, little convo before I headed off to see the water and learn about petroglyphs and oases.

Before taking my official photo with the Welcome sign, I headed to Skull Rock, the giant rock formation that celebrates Halloween year-round.

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I made it out of the desert alive, having done a decent amount of exploring all by myself. I had a giant, but 16-dollar salad at the Natural Sisters cafe, then headed back home to Death Valley.

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Some friends I made

Joshua Tree NP was my 7th National Park.

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