This weekend we decided to spend some time out at Joshua Tree National Park. Living in Southern California, we forget how close the park is to where we live. It only takes two hours to reach the campground from my house, which is about the same drive as going to San Diego. Every time I go, I vow to return soon, but for some reason, it never happens. Well, after this trip, I intent to make good on my post trip sentiments. There is just so much beauty, in what one could easily mistake for a martian landscape. It’s like being transported to another planet when you enter the park. Making things even more special, we stayed at a campground just outside the park this time around, Indian Cove Campground.
Indian Cove Campground is located in-between the two park entrances and the two cities of 29 Palms and Joshua Tree. This was perfect for us, as we planned to enter from the Joshua Tree entrance, and exit via the 29 Palms roadway. There is also a trail from the campground that allows you to walk into the park on foot. Our initial plan was to do this, but the park is very strict about dogs using the trails. We really wanted to bring Isla to Joshua Tree, so we decided to forgo the long hikes, and did a lot of shorter exploratory hiking closer to the trail-heads.
Indian Cove campground is made up of incredible soaring rock formations that seem to change shape and color with every changing angle of sunlight. We arrived on Friday, just before sundown, and I set up camp while Julia put together dinner. We stayed at campsite 60, which is located at the base of towering formation without any other sites too close by. As the sun went down, the magic of the Mojave became increasingly difficult to ignore. Fireworks are but a spark in comparison to the light show that dazzles the eyes in a desert sunset. The city lights skyline of New York City is only a cheap comparison of the constellations of stars that glow and sparkle as the earth turns us away from the sun.
We woke up early on Saturday morning to catch the first rays of sunlight filtering through the canopy of clouds that had gathered overnight. Isla was pensively excited to get outside into the biting chill of the morning.
We made our way into the park just after 8:00 AM and as always, were blown away by the beauty of the Mojave landscape. No matter how many times you visit this area, you’ll always see something new. It’s usually in a different light or season, the changes are subtle, but the perspective is inescapable. It’s difficult not to pull off of the road every few minutes to get closer to all the beauty that catches the eye.
One of my favorite stops along the way was Keys View. With all of the snow we got from the storms in the last month, San Jacinto was still coated nicely and made for the perfect backdrop. There was a slight morning for in the valley with additional cloud cover above. In all, it made for some spectacular views.
After Keys View we drove around and began to explore some of the rock formations. It was a lot of fun to see the climbers making their way up some awesome lines. It made me wish I had my 5.10 shoes on. I was able to do a little boulder scrambling, but trail shoes just don’t offer the grip to do much else safely. Nevertheless, we had a ton of fun jumping around and getting caught up in the artwork of the earth.
After our little bouts of exploring we stopped at Split Rock for some lunch, before packing it up and heading back to our campsite.
This is definitely a trip we will be doing again soon. The beauty is incredible, and it’s just too close not too. Plus, Isla wants to visit the dinosaurs in Cabazon again!