Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Black Rock Canyon

The last time I went camping was two states ago when I lived in Texas (I've moved around so much in my life that it's easier to think of elapsed time by location instead of years) so it was due time for another wilderness adventure. On Friday afternoon Chris and I loaded up the car with camping necessities, left the dogs in the loving care of Nanna, and drove north east towards the Mojave Desert to meet up with cousin Kerry and the kids at Black Rock campground in Joshua Tree National Park (just Joshua Tree, for short).

Joshua Tree gets it's unique name from the funky-looking trees that are ubiquitous within the park, the Joshua trees. Most people have heard of Joshua Tree due to the Grammy winning album of the same name (The Joshua Tree) written and recorded in the 80s by the band U2. Although the famous Joshua Tree from the album's cover was never in the actual national park and has since fallen apart and died that didn't stop Chris from loudly listening to Where The Streets Have No Name from the album as soon as we turned onto Joshua Lane.

It is believed that the trees were given their name by weary Mormon settlers who thought the trees' branches resembled the open arms of Joshua, praying and signaling for them to continue traveling westward.

 Apparently being exhausted and dehydrated in the desert makes the mind work in mysterious ways because I don't see the resemblance to any biblical figures. The trees are also referred to often as "Dr. Seuss trees", and this makes more sense to me because they have that surreal and fantastical look to them, typical of the illustrations in Dr. Seuss' stories. The truth is, it doesn't matter what one refers to them as because they're not really even trees, they're plants from the same family as the agave.

By now you must be wondering what else there is to do in Joshua Tree other than contemplate the trees. Rock climbing and hiking are a couple of it's more popular crowd pleasers but since we were camping with young children we opted for simpler acxtivities, like exploring the campground in search of wildlife, fishing in a nearby lake, and gathering around a well-fed campfire under the stars and the full moon with smores and beers. Regardless of your camping enterprise of choice I think we can agree that it's just pleasant to be outdoors with family and ignore the distractions of technology for a couple of  days.


*All pictures taken by me and Chris

After two days in the desert and only one minor discomfort (Chris and I had to sleep in the car the first night due to a missing tent pole) we headed home on Sunday covered in dust and full of sweet memories, desperately in need of showers but already thinking ahead for the next trip in the great outdoors.


Anonymous said...

Whoa!...considering there's a snake around your neck you look pretty happy.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful place, awesome pictures!

Anonymous said...

Twas good times. Can't wait to camp very soon. And maybe next time someone will wake up with me while I snap sunrise shots ;-) Good post too!