I woke up to the sound of my boyfriend saying, “Oh my God!” As he sat up quickly and I labored awake I wondered what the problem was. Had some animal gotten into our packs? Was a person entering our camp site? Then I realized he was looking at the sunrise. As I sat up to join him I saw that the sun had not yet peeked over the rim of the earth but it was casting a brilliant orange glow on the clouds that hung just over the horizon. The rest of the sky was a crystal clear blue! Good Morning Joshua Tree!!!!
We had been up late the night before watching the stars. It’s one of the main reasons we came here. When you are out in the Mohave Desert there is very little light to interfere with the amazing display that is put on every night by the Milky Way and all of her compatriots. We spent several hours lying on our backs oohing and ahhhing in amazement, naming the constellations we knew and making up names for any we didn’t. We even saw a few shooting stars!
I have always wanted to hike out to camp, carrying all that I needed on my back. Truth be told, it made me a little nervous to camp in the wild but I knew with my boyfriend I’d be in good hands. Little did I know that my first trip would be to the Twin Tanks area of Joshua Tree National Park. We each carried a sleeping bag, pad, water, a few clothes, our tent and just enough food for an overnight trip. As we headed out from our truck I started to think, “What have I gotten myself into now? It’s HOT and I have to hike? I can do that right?” Don’t I look excited? LOL
The hiking was gentle and my guide was patient as we made our way out. Our camp site was a shallow depression on the east side of a large cluster of rocks. We quickly set up our tent and began to explore our home for the night. We climbed around the granite boulders, made our way through the sandy areas and up over some of the stones to make a circumnavigation of the area near our tent.
To the southwest we notice a huge white stone capping a nearby ridge and wandered over to check it out. It turned out to be a huge seam of Milky Quartz rising up from the earth! It looked like a man-made monument from afar but it’s placement is totally natural! Several large pieces had fallen down from the pinnacle looking like huge white ice cubes that would never melt. We left our own cairn of rocks to celebrate the natural beauty of this place!
We saw very few animals over the weekend and I’m sure that’s due to the lack of any water in the area. I was mostly worried about snakes or scorpions climbing into our tent at night but luckily that didn’t happen! We did see one brilliant blue bird and a hawk screaming as he flew overhead looking for lunch. A few rabbits scurried away as we explored and a small grey wren hopped around our camp site looking for food .
The real stars of the landscape are the resident cactus and their cousins! There was no need to remind me to steer clear of their sharp spines and needles! But when you get the chance to look closely at these beauties you can’t help but be mesmerized by their color and shape and form! These lovelies have thorns to protect themselves from being eaten! There is so little water here that they protect their juicy flesh by growing long spikes to make themselves unpalatable!
After we spent a few moments enjoying the sunrise and holding hands, we began to strike our camp site. Barry made coffee and I took a few minutes to stretch, breathe, feel the wind against my skin and listen to the silence that is this place. It was a quick trip but I left feeling grateful for my life. I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to visit these places, explore new parts of the country and enjoy the beauty that this world offers.
Life is such a gift. I hope that you can take a moment today to be grateful for your time here. Go see the places you want to see. Put your toes in the sand or climb a hill and see the view. Drive out into the desert if that’s your thing. Beauty is all around if you’ll just take a moment to see it! – Namaste.