Joshua Tree

Over the weekend, we were invited by some friends to join them and some others for a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. We’re only a couple of hours from there (without traffic) and the kids an I have never been, so we thought it might be fun. I’m not a camper. I’ve never been one to enjoy a good campout. Growing up, I hated going to girls camp every summer. Every summer I would come home after a week of sleeping under the starts and using an outhouse and wonder why I would ever go back. Taylor knew this when he married me. But he loved camping. He has fond memories of campouts and hiking adventures. For me it’s more about the bathrooms and the dirt. I’m not a fan. One year about 8 summers ago, we were planning a trip to Sacramento. Taylor wasn’t super excited about going, so I asked him what might make him a little less grumpy about it. He thought about it and then threw out the most outrageous thing he could think of. He wanted to take his surf board and camp in Santa Cruz. So me, being the good wife that I am, immediately threw out that idea. He was just being difficult. But then after I let the idea settle, I got online and booked a campsite for 2 nights. He was shocked. I was shocked with myself. But we went and had a great time. Surprisingly, I loved it! For the last few years, we have gone beach camping every summer. It has become part of our summer and I really look forward to it every year. Camping at the beach is different, though. The bathrooms aren’t super clean, but at least the toilets flush. There is running water where I can wash my hands, brush my teeth, and rinse off my feet. There are showers. And most of all, there’s a huge ocean of water that we can jump in any time we get hot. We spend our days lounging on the beach and our nights up at the campfire. I love it. But I still wouldn’t consider myself a camper. I thought, though, since I do love beach camping, maybe Joshua Tree would be alright. The pit toilet made me nervous and having to bring all of our water in didn’t make me so excited either. But I was feeling adventurous. Kind of. I went out and bought a new air mattress, you know, one that would hold air. The problem was, it didn’t hold air. We forgot to pack the heavier blankets, so the first night, we were FREEZING and our air mattress was losing air. I though that maybe if I just let all of the air out, we would be less cold. That may have been the case, but then I was uncomfortable on the hard ground. Eventually Ashton ended up in our bed and we were able to use his sleeping bag to cover all of us. The next day some other friends showed up and brought us an extra blanket. That was really helpful and appreciated. We filled up the air mattress again, hoping that the first night was just a leaky valve or something. The second night wasn’t any better. In fact, it may have been worse. But I didn’t let the air out and I wasn’t freezing, so that was a plus. When Ashton woke up (in our bed again), he was pretty much enveloped in the mattress and he whacked his nose on something. He said it was the bed. Anyway, he ended up with a bloody nose. Blood was all over the sheets and the mattress (and him). So we packed it up and went home. It was definitely an adventure.

The first day we were there, London decided to touch a cactus and ended up with a bunch of prickles in her thumb. She said "I thought it was a friendly cactus, but it was not!" You think? But all of these crazy things aside, we did have a good time.

The not so friendly cactus

The not so friendly cactus

It was great to be in the desert with friends. Ashton was funny when I told him we were camping in the desert. He said, “The DESERT??? But there’s no water! Where are we going to swim?” Lucky kid. He doesn’t know what real camping is. Joshua tree was beautiful in it’s own way. We had a nice big camp site, right next to some huge boulders where the kids could climb all over the place. When we were in Yosemite a couple of months ago, all they wanted to do was climb on the rocks, so this was the perfect place for them, as long as I wasn’t too close behind and watching them, because I may have freaked out a little by the crazy things they were doing on those rocks. We even hiked to an oasis. There was a lot of grumbling (mostly from the kids) on that hike, but I’m glad we did it. Saturday night, a friend and I went driving around to take some pictures as the sun was setting. More friends showed up on Saturday. Sunday morning, we went on another photo adventure. We got up with the sun and went out for some early morning shots. They are both professionals. I was just along for the ride. It was as soon as we got back, that I heard Ashton yelling from the tent with a bloody nose. When London asked how we were going to sleep in our bed with blood all over the sheets, I told her we weren’t, that we were going home. She started crying and said, “But our friends just got here!” I kind of felt bad and we had originally planned on staying an extra day, but we were done. I was glad we came home when we did because we were all exhausted. The kids had music lessons on Monday and London didn’t feel so well. She fell asleep on the way home (just after 6) and didn’t wake up until 8:30 the next morning! 

As it turns out, I’m still no camper. I’m glad we went. We had a good time and we saw some beautiful and unique things, but I was happy to come home to my bed.

Check out the pictures here.