Joshua Tree | Places to Go / by Julia Walck

Camping is in-tents. (Did you catch that pun?) 

We stayed at Indian Cove Campground at Joshua Tree National Park Friday night. My friend Denise and I were the last campers of the night to show up (around 12am I think?), and the first to leave in the morning to embark on our JT adventures. 

After setting up our campsite, using an ice cream cone nightlight, candles and a flashlight to guide us in what we were doing, we laid on our picnic table covered in blankets and stargazed. I saw two shooting stars. I won't tell you any more, because if I do then obviously my wishes wouldn't come true. 

We woke up at sunrise and walked around the campgrounds to find the sky painted with a Pantone-esque palette. 

After making breakfast and having a much needed coffee, we were about to pack up our tent and get on the road when a fox stumbled into our campsite. Denise and I stood by the car watching him; he was pretty disappointed upon realizing we had no food (I don't think foxes like oatmeal packets), and left quietly. 

After leaving the campgrounds, we headed to Hidden Valley Trail for some hiking. We ended up "bouldering" (aka climbing on rocks but not as intensely as rock climbers) on pretty much anything we could find. There were lots of hidden valleys we discovered climbing through rocks and into little secret spots. 

It was really interesting climbing with only one hand, while making sure not to smash my lens on a rock. I can gladly say no cameras were harmed.

Our next stops were The Hall of Horrors, and Jumbo Rocks. We also stopped off to see Skull Rock, but it really wasn't anything to write home about. 

We found a nice flat rock to eat lunch on, and then walked around the giant rocks that was The Hall of Horrors. The name is pretty much aimed at rock climbers and how tough the walls are to scale; I guess some might say they're horrifying. 

Over at Jumbo Rocks, I found myself a nice jumbo rock to fall asleep on. The weather was around 64 all day and was pretty cold, but I found this rock to be surprisingly warm. 

How cute is this lil' Airstream I spotted from atop a rock? It'd be so rad to own one, or at least rent one to take adventuring.

Oh hey, this is Denise. I took a lot of photos of her during this day trip. Mainly of the back of her head.

OKAY. So this was my FAVORITE part of the park. The Cholla Cactus Garden... I think I found heaven. All you could see in each direction was a cactus field that went on for days. 

The chollas have little prickly ball shaped bits that fall off of them. DO NOT step on them, or try to kick them off of the path. Some guy in a group behind us tried to be a good samaritan and get it off of the walkway and instantly regretted his kindness. The ball got stuck to his foot and it didn't look fun to get rid of. He made it out alright though. 

The backlighting was perfect. I think we rolled up to the garden around 3:30 or 4pm, which seems like a great time to catch a glimpse of this place. 

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Now it was time for sunset. We finished driving through Joshua Tree National Park, and headed to the Salton Sea and literally made it just in the nick of time to watch the sun go down.

The amount of birds there was ridiculous. And you know me, I love birds; I must've taken around 100 photos of the birds alone, but I've narrowed it down to a few favorites. 

Once the sun fully went down, it was time for the 2.5 hour drive back to LA. I love that a trip like this is so close to home! Until next time, Joshua Tree.