Joshua Tree is one of my happy places. A place I can go to when I am feeling lost or down and inevitably leave feeling better. The Cholla Cactus Garden is particularly beautiful and the Jumbo Rocks campground is perfect for climbing on rocks like a kid. When I visited last month I was neither lost or down, but I was in the middle of a 4 week stretch covering my position at work and that of my boss and frankly, I was bloody drained and in need of a little nature retreat. I had scheduled my stay at the Pioneertown Motel all the way back in January before I knew I would be so burnt out, but it came at the perfect time. Before I headed back home after my night in Pioneertown I stopped in this amazing park I somehow only visited for the first time about 2 years ago, despite being only a 2.5 hour drive from home. Joshua Tree is appealing because it easily accessible for people who aren’t particularly “earthy” but also home to acres and acres of backcountry you could get lost in (both on purpose and by mistake-it can be a little scary and demands preparation by way of water, sun protection, and making sure people know where you’re heading if at all off-trail).
I opted for an easy hike at sunrise through Split Rock Loop before driving around to look at the Joshua trees; I love all yucca plants but nothing beats these gorgeous trees. They weren’t in bloom yet because of our abysmal winter rains but the variety of shapes and sizes and wonky arms made me happy just the same.