Rob , who also works at Agilent, is a keen photographer. When he found out I like taking the odd photo he asked if I wanted to come to Joshua Tree to take some shots of his son, Dan, rock-climbing with some of his friends. Camping? Rock-Climbing? Photography? Naturally, I jumped at the chance.
I didn’t realize Joshua Tree was a nine hour drive away in the middle of the Mojave desert! (I would’ve gone anyhow but that sounds dramatic doesn’t it?)
Totally coincidentally, Yenyi and Jason were heading to the exact same location – at roughly the same time – also for rock-climbing. Turns out the area is a very popular one for those who like to live periously hanging on to rocks by the dirt under their fingernails.
As I mentioned in the last post, Yenyi and Jason had also invited me to spend New Years with them and a couple of friends up at the snow. The plan was to drive down with Rob, meet up with Yenyi and Jason at the campsite, stay for a couple of days in Joshua Tree then drive with them up to Kirkwood, some seven hours away. A good way to see a lot of California.
So boxing day (uncelebrated in the US), after a trip to REI to stock up on snow and outdoor gear (Damn I love REI! It’s like Anaconda on steroids.), Rob and I left in the mid-afternoon and didn’t get there till after midnight. Almost exactly nine hours. It was a long drive but Rob was great company. We had a memorable stop at a Mexican restaurant (I use the term loosely) in the middle of nowhere that absolutely reeked of disinfectant but the food was surprisingly good!
Anyway we get to the campsite and I can’t see a damn thing except stars and dirt. I wasn’t aware but apparently fewer stars are visible in the Northern hemisphere, however the air was cold, crisp and clear so there were plenty out to see, though not nearly so many as a trip to the Grampians will reveal. After setting up the tent we jumped into our sleeping bags and I had the coldest sleep of my life. My sleeping bag is not cut out for close-to-zero temperatures in a tent that only just held out the elements!
I awoke to find myself in the middle of a wide valley surround by some of the weirdest trees I’d ever come across in a very alien-looking landscape. It was beautiful and stark at the same time.
Joshua Trees at Joshua Tree
Those weird looking trees are the namesake of the location. Joshua Tree’s are a hardy tree that only grow at a particular altitude and climate. They’re unlike any tree I’ve seen before.
[To be continued…]