It was a three-day weekend that I had not planned a single thing to do on, so I resorted to my well-honed research skills to find a new and interesting place to visit. My birthday is on the 1st of February. It’s been almost a decade since I started celebrating it in a different way. I indulge myself with something fun like a trip or an event ticket even if on a budget. I took advantage of this free time to do that. Unfortunately, some of my best trips are also impromptu, very little time to plan.
It’s rather easy to get to Joshua Tree National Park from the Los Angeles area. And, for even semi-experienced hikers, it can turn into multiple days of amazing hikes. The entrance fee is $30.00, and it’s good for a few days. The visitor’s center had plenty of maps available and very helpful staff. There is an area where visitors can camp out without trespassing on private property. The park has various stop centers where the trails start. Visitors can find bathrooms there, but, a word of caution, they are not clean at all.
A few years ago, I owned two dogs back-to-back that, due to personal challenges, I was forced to put up for adoption and/or re-home. I still waiver between feeling guilty and regret some days. This trip really made me wish that I had been stronger against family pressures and my mental health struggles and kept at least one of my pups, Bodhi and Cookie. In the end, I do think I made the right decision although hiking alone sucks sometimes. Surprisingly, some of the trails are quite busy. A lot of novice hikers wander out to Joshua Tree National Park because the trails are relatively accessible. With some of the more challenging trails, it’s easy to see how someone could get lost in a heartbeat. The main roads disappear among the big rocks and wild. And, out in the wild, the heat can get to someone in a blink of the eye.
Joshua Tree National Park was definitely one of the more challenging places that I’ve gone hiking at since I started in my early 20s. When I was confronted by the terrain and the sun, however, I realized how much experience I’ve gathered over the years. I easily realized that I should not have taken my black cotton sweater, but I left my lightweight waterproof jacket in storage along with some other items: my headlamp and cord bracelets. Although I did not pack a hearty lunch, I snacked on V8 energy drinks and protein bars in-between trails. On one of the more touristy spots, I think I even saved a little boy from a bad fall. Somehow, though, I experienced my first injury hiking. It was the first time that I had to use my emergency kit. A tiny finger scratch that stung and was a clear warning that I needed to slow down before I hurt myself worse out of sheer fatigue.
Along the way, a nice lady that looked like Brené Brown without makeup complimented my Joshua Tree shirt. I left shortly after that, and I cut through the park to return to L.A. via the Palms Springs route. My cruise through the city did not inspire me to linger; I still don’t realize why some people like Palm Springs so much. What else can I say? Don’t forget the sunscreen! I definitely will remember to take some the next time I visit because Joshua Tree National Park is definitely worth the time.
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