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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Joshua Tree NP was my 7th National Park.