Escape From Las Vegas: Desert Hot Springs & Joshua Tree National Park Part 2
If you ever find yourself needing to be in a Dr. Seuss novel, Joshua Tree National Park is the place for you. It's located in the Mojave Desert with its most fashionable neighbor being Palm Springs, and its more approximate and dusty desert vibe neighbors being 29 Palms, the town of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley to the north.
October is the beginning of the high season, so I knew that I wanted to make reservations. (You can reserve a campsite at Joshua Tree National Park here - then type Joshua Tree National Park into the search bar.) It's about a 3 to 4 hour drive out of Las Vegas, so if you can leave on Thursday afternoon, you'll have a much better chance at getting a site at one of the more centrally located campgrounds that you can't reserve online.
We camped in Indian Cove campground because that's where I was able to get a campsite reservation. We camped in site number 91 and it was beautiful and quiet and lovely. If you can get #92, I recommend that one more in since it is not exposed to the sun nearly as much as 91. That being said: Indian Cove is really beautiful but there are few things to know before making your reservations there. One is that it's not connected by road to the happenin' part of the park where all the trails, roads, lookouts and places to climb on awesome rocks are at. You have to leave the campground, go into the outskirts of 29 Palms, head down the highway and enter the park at another entrance. All in all it's fine, but if you're looking to get away and stay away, you'll want to get in on one of the central campgrounds (my favorites are Hidden Valley and Belle). Another thing to know is that this campground's eco-wonder are the big beautiful giant rocks that surround you. There are not that many Joshua Trees. All of this being said, it was peaceful and gorgeous. Joshua Tree can be a bit of a party place in some of the other campgrounds that I mentioned, but that vibe wasn't happening at Indian Cove. So pick your poison.
Quiet beautiful desert nights. Absolutely gorgeous. At this time of year still a little hot during the day so I made a pact that we would only return in November through March where the days would be perfect, but nights might require a hoodie. As it was on this trip, I was hanging out comfortably in a tank top the entire time. It was heavenly.
I've long held the desert as a magical place, and this one certainly has magic in it. I haven't ever relaxed into its landscape, I've been too preoccupied with making sure my company on both trips were having enough fun and were hydrated enough. I know that my heart swells a bit more while I'm out there even though I already live in a magical desert place called Las Vegas. I did notice that upon return, the effects of getting away from animated stripper trucks and bright lights and the acceptance of every base vice built into the cornerstone of the city that I live in were possibly more beneficial than they were when I would get out of town when I lived in Colorado Springs.
The trip specs:
Slept in: REI Kingdom 6 - awesome
Cooked with: Classic Coleman stove
Cooked: brats, steaks, eggs
Ate: Kefir, spinach, cheese, fruit
Drank: a ton of water, Prosecco at night
Dogs: not allowed on many of the trails. Our dog is getting really old and did not enjoy this trip and I believe that prevented me from truly relaxing.
Wore: shorts, light-weight long sleeve shirts over tank tops, wide brimmed hats, North Face trail runners, flip flops, a ton of light weight sunscreen
Read: All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy ~ Set in the Texas and Mexico deserts and is packed with so many beautiful words that I have to put the book down while my body residually shivers, not unlike after an orgasm. If this isn't a description of falling in love that doesn't bring you to tears, I don't know what will: “He'd half meant to speak but those eyes had altered the world forever in the space of a heartbeat.”
― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Drove: Subaru Crosstrek: perfect, compact, handles the dusty roads well
Bugs: bring repellant
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