Joshua Tree

By Forrest Smith -

The original plan was to head over to Zion for four days, camp a little, do some hikes and exploration, and possibly backpack for a night.  Our plans changed when the little one got sick, almost exactly at the same time as when we finished packing. By morning he was doing just fine, but we decided to stick around on Saturday to make sure. Since we lost a day we had to change our plans, we opted for Joshua Tree, a place that has been on the list for a while but always gets skipped over for bigger targets.

Negatives Into Positives
I completely missed the exit for Interstate 10, which leads out to Joshua Tree, and realized this ten or so miles past where the intersection was. I of course bitched about this for a few minutes — blaming the google maps lady for not telling me and blaming myself for not studying out the map in more detail before leaving. We were off course, but being southern California, there’s always another freeway that takes you where you want to go. But I also realized that because of the error, we were close to an area that I’ve been wanting to explore — Forest Falls.

We drove up quickly out of the urbanity. Palm trees and snow-capped mountains is always a contrast I appreciate, and we got a good helping of that as we drove out of Redlands. We made it up to Forest Falls, where snow hung on the hills, and we did a short little hike. It’s a place we need to explore more.

We had a nice little hike through the oak trees. Once back at the car, we decided to pull out the stove and make some coffee while Mason played with his tractors.

We made it into Joshua Tree a little before the sun went down and we were treated to some pretty spectacular skies. We managed to get our camp set up right as the last bits of sun faded away.

Usually in the morning there are a few feathers in our tent that have escaped from the sleeping bags.   After 10+ years and several extended trips, the feather reduction is beginning to be noticed on nights where the temps dip below freezing. It was a restless night, and morning was brutally cold. We walked around the campground and made warm drinks in a futile effort to stay warm.

We did a small walk and played on the rocks.  Mason loved jumping and climbing on the rocks, I suspect that most kids do. It is a rather satisfying activity I must admit. As we walked, we watched rock climbers doing much the same, albeit on a larger scale. 

The weekend was definitely different than the original plan, but we still managed to have a great time and explore some new territory.