Joshua Tree National Park
This was not a park I envisioned myself visiting when we started out on this adventure. After Sarah suggested we visit Craters Of The Moon and it turned out to be a great day-trip, I have been more open minded about places we visit. Originally we had picked a spot with water and electricity to stay for a few days while we explored the park. A super nice park ranger and I had a discussion though and she suggested we stay inside the park further at a camp called Jumbo Rocks. We filled up with water and then took her advice. Jumbo Rocks was in the middle of the National Park and like it’s name implies it had large boulders all around it. Although it was extremely difficult to get a spot and we barely fit into the one we settled on, it was an amazing camp and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
Everyone enjoyed the stay at Joshua Tree National Park and Miles even votes it as the best National Park we have visited yet. We went bouldering and even took the kids on a difficult cave and boulder hike. The landscape was surreal and unique with Joshua trees, cacti, and other desert plants. The kids did a great job of bouldering after a few lessons from their parents and we managed an entire day of hiking without a single injury. That’s a big feat when one of your kids is named Trip and lives up to his name.
If you want to visit Jumbo Rocks during on season we recommend that you arrive early in the week. People were fighting to get spots Thursday and Friday had people freaking out and doing laps to get a space. Several people tried to take our neighbors spot while he was away and someone was even setting a tent up when he came back latter in the day. I can see why though because the camp is wonderful even with no hook-ups. We are getting better at dry camping and have several tubs for dish washing, so we were able to stay four nights. Not bad for a family with three little kids.
The major bummer is that our camera battery ran out and since we didn’t have a power hook-up we were unable to charge it. Of course then a great picture taking opportunity arose. A great horned owl perched above our camp and they are a rare sight in the park. We got pictures with every other camera we had, but it would have been a perfect shot with a telephoto lens. Oh well, we will always have the memory of it. Before the battery died we were able to get some pictures of a coyote that was out and about in the park. Now we try to make sure and regularly charge the battery, especially when the next camp doesn’t have power.