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joshua tree national park

April 18, 2011

Last weekend we embarked on our first camping trip of the year. The destination: Joshua Tree. The Goal: survive the chilly & wet weather forecast. The Result: we did it (sort of).

After visiting Death Valley last year we fell in love with the geology of the desert, so it seemed that the perfect way to open up this years camping season was to hit up a slightly closer National Park: Joshua Tree. The plan was simple enough, book a campsite in early spring as to not risk hot temperatures (I hate the heat) and time it so that the wildflowers were in bloom.

Mother nature took my dislike of heat a little too seriously and decided that a crazy winter cold streak was completely appropriate for our weekend sleeping in a tent. A tent within which we had two sleeping bags from Costco. Not fancy ones rated for freezing temps. Nope, just a couple cheapies to get us through the mild and always friendly Southern California nights. That made things interesting.

On our drive out Friday afternoon we had a glimpse of thing to come as the car was pelted with hail and sleet. The dramatic downpour reminded us of what we forgot to pack, our jackets. Nice. But wait… after we made it up and over a small mountain and into the valley the sun was shining brightly and it seemed everything was going our way. Happily we set up camp in the brisk forty-something degree weather, smiling and commenting about how it really wasn’t “that cold”. Minutes later the sun went down. In case you were wondering… no sun = cold. Really cold.

We easily survived cooking up a great dinner, and then enjoyed a little time around our blazing campfire. But pretty soon it was decided that we’d have to suck it up and step away from the heat to test the chilly tent we were to call home. My oh my! I don’t know that I’ve ever slept in so many layers, we’re talking a base layer, under flannels, under fleece, wool socks… I was bundled up like crazy and yet it was freezing. I quickly realized that sleep was going to be few and far between as I shivered in my sleeping bag and listened the sounds of Hashi lightly snoring next to me. Lucky him.  He wasn’t having a problem with the cold. The boy who can’t handle when it’s in the 50’s seemed to be fine in freezing temps. Figures! In a desperate act to keep from going stir crazy I turned on Hashi’s blackberry to discover that our campsite was close enough to town to get internet access. Thank goodness! I tortured myself a few times by checking the weather (wanting proof that I wasn’t just wimping out) and I can honesty tell you it really was freezing that night. In the wee hours of the morning I discovered I was attempting to sleep in 30 degree weather with a “feels like” temp in the 20’s! I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me the next morning when I discovered some of our water was frozen.  Lovely.

Saturday morning we really thought things were making a turn for the better.  Above our heads were blue skies mixed with a few puffy white clouds and the sun was shining brightly.  Little did we know that a few hours later we’d be smack in the middle of  dark skies and snowfall.  I suppose you win some & you lose some!  In the end we decided to break camp early as the chance for more snow and rain was too great for my liking.  We then spent the rest of the day taking in as many sites as possible before driving home late Saturday night.  It was an adventure for sure!  We saw just enough to make us want to head back as soon as possible…


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2011 1:52 pm

    Amazing picture as always! Looks like it was an adventure for sure!!!

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