Welcome to my favourite place… THE DESERT!!! I’ve been dreaming of heading out to the desert, more specifically, Joshua Tree for years and years. About a week after spending some time in LA, we made the road trip out to Joshua Tree for some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It truly was the most relaxing and much needed experience ever. No cell service? No problem! We took that time to just enjoy everything that mother nature had to offer. The most beautiful mountainous backdrop to a landscape full of joshua trees, cacti, succulents, rock formations, and flowers! Literally all of my favourite things in one place, what more could I ask for? The only thing that I was quite surprised about was how incredibly windy it was! I’m pretty sure the wind was at least 45 km/hour while we were in Joshua Tree, which made it difficult to take pictures for sure, but we still enjoyed every second of it.
When heading to Joshua Tree, we knew that we wanted to go to the National Park and hike some of the trails. Let me tell you that having been born and raised in Canada, I’m used to hiking trails through deciduous forests, full of pine and beech trees that provide shade as you go through the muddy trails. Well obviously, hiking in Joshua Tree is the complete opposite! With no forest comes no shade and if you’ve ever been to the desert, you know that the temperatures during the day can be scorching hot. Luckily the weather was much cooler the days that we were there, but I can just imagine how uncomfortably hot it can be in the middle of summer. Remember to brings TONS of water to stay hydrated! With that said, I’ve never really hiked trails like the ones in Joshua Tree. They’re absolutely beautiful. As you walk along paths of sand/dust, you’re constantly winding and turning around giant rock formations. Be wary of the rocks though! Before heading into one of the trails, we were warned by a park official not to stick our hands in any rock crevasses as rattle snakes like to hide in there!! It’s safe to say we clearly avoided that.
As you make your way furthur through the trails, you’ll of course see a ton of joshua trees, but there are also so many cute little wild cacti everywhere! My favourite kind is the beaver tail cacti. As the name suggests, these cacti are shaped like a beaver’s tail – wide and flat, and have little flowers blooming on top of them! On top of that, the mountainous views in the background make the whole experience so surreal. Maybe because I’m not from the West Coast so I’m not used to seeing mountains like this every day, but honestly I was just so mesmerized. Some trails/attractions that I definitely suggest in Joshua Tree National Park are the Cholla Cactus Garden (more on that next week), Skull Rock, Barker Dam trail, and Hidden Valley trail.
Skull Rock: See massive rock formations, including one that is shaped like a skull! You can even have fun climbing on top of these rocks for a more elevated view of the park.
Barker Dam: The trail takes you to a dam in the middle of the park that was built by cattlemen in the 1900s. Who knew such a thing even existed in the middle of the desert?!
Hidden Valley: A short but sweet trail that is suitable for all ages. This trail pretty much allows you to see a bit of everything that Joshua Tree has to offer, including cacti, rock formations and joshua trees. This is a great trail for beginners who want an introduction to the wildlife and plant species within the park.
Have any of you ever been to Joshua Tree and what did you think of it? Let me know! It was honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and I miss the desert already. I would love to go back and explore some more again! Stay tuned for next week as we continue our adventures in Joshua Tree and I take you into the Cholla Cactus Garden!