Joshua Tree

Dara: The plan: Wake up early and drive to Joshua Tree. Set up at a campsite. Go on a hike and climb some boulders. Have a relaxing evening at the campsite. One more hike and exploration before leaving in the morning.

What actually happened… not that.

TJ: Fun Fact: If you do not get to Joshua Tree before 9am, you will not get a campsite. Even at 9am, you probably won’t get a campsite. 

Fun fact: You are allowed to pop up a tent anywhere in the National Park that is both 1 mile from the road and 500 feet from a trail.

Caveat: But not east of the Boy Scout trail. That is forbidden for some reason. Something about the rocks? 

P sure it’s the coyotes.

Unconfirmed. The Ranger who told us that was practically useless.

True. But anyway. So we got to Joshua Tree “late” (aka at a reasonable hour) and couldn’t find a campsite. We spent two hours going to almost all of them before giving up.

Then, because we wanted a break from the stress of not knowing where we were going to sleep, we climbed some boulders.

It was fun. We got higher than anyone else that was there and it was basically like a natural, adult jungle gym.

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My favorite part of that was actually walking really far out to a ridge after summiting the boulders. There were some really cool/bizarre plants I was obsessed with, and it seemed like a place most people didn’t venture to. You got to go so far away from everyone else that all you could hear was the wind.

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The next thing we did that most people probably don’t do in Joshua Tree was backcountry camp. It was either that or stay somewhere outside Joshua Tree, which would have defeated the whole purpose of going. So we just decided to drive into town, buy trekking packs, and pack up all our stuff in them so we could hike to a random spot into the desert.

The decision wasn’t as easy as he makes it seem though. Said packs cost over $400 and we very much had not planned to spend that much on this weekend, not in the comfort of a campsite.

But as they say, YOLO!

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We bought the packs anyway knowing that they’re an investment we were going to make at some point and that we’re super capable of roughing it out in the desert for a night.

Which we did! We walked a little over a mile, found a bush to block the wind, and put our tent up. Since it was already sunset when we got there, all we spent the night doing was taking pictures and read/write/edit scripts.

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The night itself was also a mess because we didn’t strap the wind cover down all the way and it ended up being a night of higher winds than expected, which meant getting up in the middle of the night in 50 mph winds in the freezing cold to properly set-up the tent.

But otherwise, the trip was a pretty uneventful respite from LA. In the morning we made oatmeal on the stove and just chilled around the tent doing some more reading and writing. What was kind of funny though was realizing that TJ and I were supposed to be reading the same script our bosses got submitted that week.

So naturally only one of us read it, and the other got to practice bullshitting like a true Hollywood exec.

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Good luck trying to figure out which one of it it was 😉

Check out more photos from the weekend in the gallery below:

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Cost report: $$*

Park Entrance Fee: $25
Gas from LA: $16
Food: $30

*$$$$ with optional purchases of Deuter backpacks. Here are links for Dara’s and TJ’s. We also highly recommend our Coleman Flatwoods tent and Esbit camping stove.

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