A Wonderful & Un-Perfect Desert Adventure

Joshua Tree National Park is quite a place. We're lucky to be within 3 hours drive of such a treasure.

Been there many times, and was wondering while wandering its glorious back country: How many times have I been?

I go through the physical memories in my mind, weaving through Creosote and Yucca off the trail. This is 10. Never been in January as I recall, a first.

Tenting under the stars, bounding the rocks, discovering wildlife that (yes) indeed thrives here. In later trips, rambling the dirt road and jeep tracks was another method of exploring.

This time was just as great, just as different from all the others.

We showed up towing a mini-camper. This will be the defining difference about this particular visit. We're experimenting to see if this style of "getting out" is for us. This was imperfection #1. More on that later.

Let's move to the photo's and begin with imperfection #2:


This is a Desert Woodrat. Indeed very cute, but sneaked in to our vehicle. Stayed the night. Ate some of our stuff. Pooped & peed about. We assume it got in sometime during dusk when they come out from their den.

Long story short: We emptied the car in a panic twice, thinking he jumped out, found him hiding under the back seat after we drove home, whereby he (she?) found an untimely death in a rat trap bated with a Cliff Bar nugget.

Yeah, yeah, before you start with the flame-thrower, we really TRIED THREE TIMES to save the cute little bugger. We thereby concluded that the human three-strikes rule applies to the Desert Woodrat.

More cutesie rat pictures and info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_woodrat#Behavior


Back to the camper. This particular rental was worn out & somewhat junky. We brought all our normal gear, so we weren't with out water or kitchen, but several amenities did not work. We did not sleep well.

It towed Ok, since it was so small.  Our expectations were low. They were met perfectly.

Not discouraged, we'll be trying a different one next time.


This Cottontail rabbit did not cause mass panic or destruction of property, so we liked him instantly. He hung out at our site for an afternoon.

Other wildlife that we saw or heard:  Jack Rabbit (much larger, faster than Cottontail) Kit Fox (and he left a turd under our camp kitchen) & Coyotes howling at night.


A practice rock at our campsite.


We had an epic off-trail hike through all of this.  A Doug's Wife wasn't initially convinced of my navigation skills.  But her story softened once we intersected the dirt road leading to Jumbo Rocks campground.


Herself makes an introduction to JT and his offspring: Spike.


Yet another photo op.


"Lay down all thoughts and surrender to the void. It is shining." (Lennon/McCartney "Tomorrow Never Knows".)

Virginia embraces the transition of daylight to dusk.


Practice rock. Our campsite. Glowing Jumbo Rocks. All is quiet on this good morning.


Two old men facing West.


You can't go past this shady hole without giving it a try.


Sunset from our campsite:



Shadow man takes a turn on practice rock.


71 seconds hiking with us:


This is how we started our 2018. Imperfect, but fun. We returned excited to plan more outdoor adventures. What about you?


Got some thoughts? Comments are welcome and encouraged. As always, the comment password is: life is good


Comments (2) -


Nice. Many oh many memories there. My first beer, coors 6oz in a can. Bouldering before all the  yahoos came. Back then leather boots. A rash of parties out there. Later on climbing with ropes , harness and rock climbing shoes. One of the largest snakes I've ever seen. A diamond back rattle snack. As round as my cafe and eight ft long. Went right under my car while a girlfriend at the time was laying on the hood. I was up on a boulder. I couldn't believe how huge it was. Hell, I remember when they had to shut the hole park down due to people "climbers" destroying it with trash and  human feces. I think they closed it for a couple years. Such a magical place. That camper? What's up with that? A rental? Ha ha ha. Where does one rent a 70's camper like that??? So funny. Glad you guys had a great time.


Thanks Tony! It's a very crowded place now, but everyone seemed to behave to keep things quiet.  Etiquette appreciated!

There aren't that many places to rent campers, which is why we couldn't be too choosy.  Any wilderness in your near future?

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