From the very first moment I ever stepped foot in Joshua Tree National Park, it’s been a staple in my mind. I can never quite get the terrestrial landscape out of my head. I think back to the first time I visited Joshua Tree, alone on a quest to discover a new place. I drove through the park, cruising in my rental car, camera in hand and watched as the light danced through the valley as the sun dropped below the horizon; a completely surreal experience.
This time I knew what to expect, but was looking forward to gaining a new perspective on an otherwise solid place in my heart. In fear of not getting a campsite, since we hadn’t been so lucky so far while heading further south down the coast, we reserved a campsite at Black Rock Canyon Campground. We drove into Twenty Nine Palms, grabbed some fire wood and supplies and headed into the north entrance of the park after stopping at the Visitor’s Center. We drove down to the Ocotillo patch, where the two deserts meet, the Mojave and the Colorado, and explored among the massive rocks at Hall of Horrors and Barker Dam.
We scoured the campgrounds of White Tank, Jumbo Rocks, Hidden Valley and the like to see if we could find a last-minute walk-up campsite within the depths of the park, but no place seemed quite right, so we continued on to Keys View to watch the sun drop behind the Coachella Valley. We exited out the west entrance just in time to set up camp and make some dinner in the dark. By lantern, we cooked risotto and fell asleep as the stars swirled above in the night sky.
The next morning we hiked up the short Hi-View Nature Trail for another view of the surrounding valley before making our way towards Mexico. Although it was a different experience this time around, Joshua Tree National Park maintained its top spot in my list of favorite national parks. But Mexico was a calling.
For the first account of Joshua Tree National Park, visit here.