Tips and Quips

Trekking Joshua Tree National Park

April 22, 2014

Tip for Trekking J.T.

A few weeks ago I went on a Saturday (mis)adventure to Joshua Tree National Park.  A few friends were camping out.  The plan was for me to meet them for lunch on Saturday.  Just a lil ol day trip for me - to the area known as Jumbo Rocks.  We checked with each other on Friday morning via emails.  Everyone had all the pertinent info.   I went on with my work day.  The friends were to start their camping that Friday afternoon as discussed.  Saturday morning rolled around.  I packed my lunch and cooler and headed out to the Cottonwood  Entrance, on the South East end of the park.  Took about 45 minutes to get there from La Quinta.  I stretched my legs at the Cottonwood Visitor Center and checked out how far to Jumbo Rocks.  It would be another 45 minutes trekking across Joshua Tree.  I hopped in my trusty Rav4, aka Hi Ho, and headed out.  It’s about 12:30pm.  I should make it for lunch.  Tip on trekking in Joshua Tree National Park:  make your cell phone calls BEFORE YOU ENTER THE PARK cuz once you are in the park, all cell signals are blocked except for  911 Emergency calls. 

NOTE TO SELF:  The fact that you cannot locate your friends DOES NOT constitute an emergency.  I went on to Jumbo Rocks, undaunted by lack of regular use of cell phone signal.  I was confident I would find my friends, one way or another.  It was beautiful weather, much cooler than La Quinta, great day for ambling around Joshua Tree National Park and all 117 campsites of Jumbo Rocks.

HAH, FAMOUS LAST WORDS!  I searched the entire Jumbo Rocks camp area, not once, not twice, but about four times.  The place was packed and by the time I gave up, I was getting to know some of the campers on a first name basis.  I noshed on my peanut butter and cheese sandwich, washed down with ice cold orange juice and headed out of the park.  It was disappointing not finding my pals but certainly far from devastating.  I was having a great day despite the communications conundrum.

THE REST OF THE STORY…I stopped outside the park at an area nearing the Interstate 10 on ramp.  Took some photos of gorgeous Ocotillos in bloom.   A Taiwanese guy pulled over while I was stowing my camera.  In halting English he asked how I was and (get this) if I was alone.  Suddenly I had visions of my adventure ending, um, badly.  Not being one to be “Taken”, I said “Oh, no – my friends are just down the road, giving their two Rottweillers a romp.”  There is not another soul in sight for miles…well, except for the four sock monkeys in the front passenger seat.  As it was, he was practicing his English and did not realize how inappropriate his questions were.  It was ‘all good’ and he went on with his adventure.   I then checked cell phone text messages which came flooding in once normal reception restored.  My  comrades were not in the park at all.  Joshua Tree overnight camping was sold out by noon on Friday.  Undaunted as well, they moved the campout to a friend’s two acre spread in the actual town of Joshua Tree.   I phoned everyone and we all had a good laugh at the twists and turns this day trip had taken.  Home, I went. ( Mis) Adventure concluded.

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