Winter quarter of this school year just started for me on Monday. One of my goals for the new year was to travel and do more day trips. I started that resolution by going to Joshua Tree, CA, last Sunday, the day before school started back up.
It’s amazing that I’ve lived my whole life in southern California and have never been to Joshua Tree. It’s only about an hour and a half from where I live. I didn’t know what to expect when I went there, but let me tell you, it was amazing.
I have always been in love with the forest and the ecosystems surrounding it, but the desert found a place into my heart as well. Although a large part of southern California is technically the desert, it is not as extreme as Joshua Tree. Rocks and sand stretch as far as the eye can see. There is minimal brush, but Joshua Trees frequent the landscape. Although this may seem bleak or boring, one comes to appreciate the light and the effect it has on the landscape. Depending on the time of day, the colors can range from reds and purples to blues and greys. It truly is amazing.
We arrived at around noon and ate our sandwiches on top of some rocks. Afterward, we hiked to find Skull Rock. We strayed from the trail and climbed any and all rock formations that caught our fancy. I really like rock climbing, but I had never done it out in nature before. (So apparently I guess I don’t like it that much, but the experience made me want to climb outdoors more). We found the trail a few minutes before sundown, and then drove to a prime lookout point called Keys View.
My weather app told me that sundown was at about 4:45, but there was a large mountain in the way, so it descended earlier. We arrived at Keys View a little after four o’clock. From the lookout point, you can see part of the San Andreas Fault and the Salton Sea was a glittering blob in the distance. The wind was over 30 mph, and it was 40 degrees outside. We were not prepared for this weather and were shivering. While we were taking our prime photos as the sun went down, my phone decided to go into shock and shut off, lying and saying that I had run out of battery. Apparently when an iPhone overheats or becomes too cold, it goes into protection mode and shuts off. I braved the cold to get my premium shots, which didn’t end up happening at all. Oh well. It’s just an excuse for me to go back again.
Joshua Tree was a great experience for me. I look forward to more desert adventures and hopefully some camping trips in the future. I’d advise taking a camera though, and doing a thorough check on the weather forecast beforehand.