In all the years I've been exploring the deserts of southern California, I've never made it to Joshua Tree National Park. The reason - if a little lame - is also simple: it's just too far away.
Now, I know what you're thinking - they drive 20+ hours from Washington to Death Valley on a regular basis - and Joshua Tree is too far?
Yes. It's a few more hours, and even I have my limits for what are usually 5-day trips where we leave at 8:00am and need to get at least a few hours of sleep before starting the first of three days exploring before a maniacal drive home.
But, now that the Tacoma lives in Las Vegas and is a mere two-hour flight, a whole new range of possibilities has opened up. Couple that with an invitation from a buddy to go explore the Old Dale Mining District, and a seven-day stretch of time I could be away, and I was excited.
An Evening in Pinto Basin | Joshua Tree #1 - In all the years I've been exploring the deserts of southern California, I've never made it to Joshua Tree National Park. The reason - if a little lame - is also simple: it's just too far away. Now, I know what you're thinking - they drive 20+ hours from Washington… Crowds | Joshua Tree #2 - After a very pleasant night - temps in the low 40s °F, only a slight breeze - on the southern edge of Pinto Basin, I was up bright and early to make the 12-mile drive back to the intersection of Pinto Basin, Old Dale, and Black Eagle Mine Roads. I'd… All Alone | Joshua Tree #3 - Boy was I lucky. My night at 5380 feet on the top of Eureka Peak was a little cool - not a problem given my doubled-up down comforters - with just the slightest breeze to keep air moving through the tent. It was a far cry from the wind event… Cary's Castle | Joshua Tree #4 - Uncomfortably hunkered down in the passenger seat of the Tacoma with a towel covering my legs for warmth, I spent the first few hours of the night transferring photos to my computer and doing a bit of reading. By 9:00pm, winds were strong enough that waves of sand where being… Saving the Best for Last | Joshua Tree #5 - Perched above I-10 and the Chuckwalla Valley - which for some reason, I'd previously assumed was on the south side of the Chuckwalla Mountains where the Bradshaw Trail passed through the Chuckwalla Bench - I was relieved when the previously rambunctious winds died down after sunset. Having gotten very little…