Last weekend, I went up to Joshua Tree with a friend who has never been before. He also had never gone camping, so I figured I was the person to help break him in! We ended up going to Joshua Tree National Park; only to be met with rather abrupt disappointment. Many campsites that used to be first-come, first-served are now reservation-based (like Jumbo Rocks). We ended up camping at Giant Rock, the desert’s best kept 4×4 access secret if you’re on the short end of the stick when it comes to designated campgrounds. If you’re aware of Leave No Trace, and you’re a responsible human-being – I’d recommend the BLM land route anyway. Less crowds and more room for you!
We (well, I did this) ended up locking my keys in my car. After a mini freak-out and my friend’s calm demeanor helping me simmer my neuroticism; we ended up calling AAA at a local ranger’s station… 20 miles away. Did you know Joshua Tree is the approximately the size of Rhode Island? I’ve been coming to the park for years and didn’t realize how little I knew about it, aside from the magical feeling it would wash over my senses. After a quick 3 hour delay (lol) we ended up climbing a few boulders at Hall of Horrors, catching the sunset at Keys View, eating our bellies full of beer-battered bar grub and finding our campsite under the moonlight.
Having some scotch and a hard camper shell in the wind didn’t hurt ether.