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DPChallenge Forums >> Out and About >> Where to go in Jashua Tree?
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09/29/2005 02:43:50 PM · #1
The wife & I will be going to Joshua Tree National Park next week for a couple of days. Never been there before. Anybody have suggestions on what to look for/where to go?
09/29/2005 02:47:56 PM · #2
I haven't been there since 1970! Look for crumbly granite boulders, alien-looking trees, and maybe rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and scorpions : )

It's very hot -- take (and drink) lots of water.
09/29/2005 02:57:16 PM · #3
Originally posted by GeneralE:

It's very hot -- take (and drink) lots of water.

Yeah. We're already planning to pick up some water-toting apparatus(sp) of some kind this weekend. Checked the forecast - low 90s & sunny, so it shouldn't be too bad.

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09/29/2005 03:11:12 PM · #4
I highly recommend going in around 03:00 and staying through dawn and into the morning. Do some night photography and catch some of the trees backlit at dawn. It's a beautiful place. Have fun!
09/29/2005 03:17:11 PM · #5
Originally posted by kirbic:

I highly recommend going in around 03:00 and staying through dawn and into the morning. Do some night photography and catch some of the trees backlit at dawn. It's a beautiful place. Have fun!

Great idea! I actually just saw my first "wild" tarantulas a couple of weeks ago up on Mt. Diablo in northern California.

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09/29/2005 03:22:56 PM · #6
My girlfriend and I were very lucky and got to spend seven months traveling the American West from Mexican to Canadian Border, from Pacific to East of the Rockies, in 2003. Joshua Tree was and still is, one of my favorite places and one of only two places that we revisited in those seven months.

One thing you HAVE to do (at least in my book... ;-) is to take "Joshua Tree" by U2 with you and play "Where the Streets have no name" at top volume while driving one of these nameless streets leading to the park or cutting through its inside.

The other thing I suggest, especially if you bring your camera, is hiking AWAY from the tourists, AWAY from streets and parking areas, at off hours, i.e. when day-trippers are either not there yet or long gone. The light and shadows are fantastic and the mood and feel this place creates, is all the cooler. Blue hour at its best.

I'd suggest you drive through the park once, from North to South or the other way around, depending on which side you're coming from, just to see what's there. The layout of the roads is pretty simple - north-south and one branch are the main drags, the rest is detail. Just pick up a map, look around at the visitor center, talk to the rangers, maybe even book a guided hike and otherwise follow the roads to the posted and recommended attractions. There's much more to the park than the trees. There are incredible rock formations, an unbelievable variety of cactee, you can hike to a lookout that lets you see the surreal green of the irrigated valley below (I think you'd be looking towards Palm Springs) and, last but not least, I'd suggest that if you get tired of the park, you go see the nearby California State Park at Anza Borego Desert, which is just as beautiful but much less known and thus less overrun by tourists.

One of the best burgers we had on our whole trip was somewhere around these two places, if I remember correctly, at the Salton Sea Truck Stop, don't know how far off your route that would be.

29 Palms north of the park is pretty cool, if a little deserted at times... like a desert version of Twin Peaks ;-)

Here's the link to our online picture travel diary over at pbase.com:

Not much on there from JT, just because it wasn't that cool the first time around (in May/first month on the road). We returned in November and that's still not online - shame, shame, shame...

Have fun and I hope I didn't bore you with my long post.


Message edited by author 2005-09-29 15:27:42.
09/29/2005 03:40:48 PM · #7
Originally posted by BeeGee:

if you bring your camera

Hey! What a great idea!

But seriously, thanks for the input.

Your trip sounds great. I got to spend about 3 months driving around the country between Chicago, Seattle & San Diego some years ago. It was a wonderful experience, except that I had no one to share it with then.
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