Camping in Joshua Tree National Park - October 6-8, 2006
Below are some photos of the camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park that Joel and Sarah Schreuder, Luke and Jenny Varvel, and Mark and Michelle Vander Pol went on.
On Friday evening the Schreuders and Vander Pols left to head northeast towards Joshua Tree. We encountered a little traffic on the trip and didn't arrive to the park entrance until after 7:00pm, maybe even a little later. There was a full moon out that night so driving through the north part of the park in the dark was still beautiful. The silhouettes of the hills, rocks and joshua trees was whetting our appetite for the sun to come up!
We were scared that we weren't going to find two empty spots in our preferred campground, let alone two sites next to each other. But we found two sites that ended up being really nice as you will see below. After we set up camp and ate dinner we went for moon-lit hike out behind our sites.
Mark and Michelle in/on Skull Rock. There is a nature trail starting in our campground that led to this place. We did this on a beautiful Saturday morning.
Joel and Sarah in/on another part of Skull Rock
After Skull Rock we crossed the street and headed for some rocks that we scrambled up. The bush in the lower right corner of the picture allowed us to identify that "peak" from afar throughout the day.
Joel and Sarah
Many times we had to go under and through the piles of rocks. Here is Michelle coming out from underneath one such place.
You can kind of see in this photo the roughness of the rocks. They were great for traction on your shoes, but not so much on your hands. When you really needed to concentrate on not falling your hands don't hurt, but when you are just casually putting your hand down, they really hurt!
After the "rock summit" in the earlier photos we made our way back to our campsite. Luke and Jenny had just arrived, which is why they are now in this photo and not in the previous photos.
Luke, Jenny, Sarah, and Michelle sitting on a rock. Mark and Joel went out to see if there was another way down. Not that our way up was that bad, we just wanted to see if there was another route.
Luke descending into another "tunnel".
This gives you some idea of how we attacked the rocks (we are actually descending here). We went in single file with the person in the lead helping the person behind them when needed and telling them where to put their feet and hands or to "hold them(!)" as the case may be.
Just above and to the left of the middle beehive looking rock is our campsite (#'s 55 and 56) in the Jumbo Rock Campground. Where we were standing was almost in somebody else's campsite, so you can see how much there is within the campground itself. In the distance off to the right is a rock that we got close to on our moonlight hike the night before.
Altough this is one of the more vertical ascents we did it was actually one of the easier. This was in an area called the "Hall of Horrors".
On top in the "Hall of Horrors".
What an unbelievable landscape!! This is looking roughly north from the "Hall of Horrors". As you can see there is an almost endless supply of rocks to climb! The brochure said there were 4,500 known climbing routes within the park!
This is going down that vertical face shown from the top earlier.
We went to Keys Point to watch the sunset. Unfortunately you can see the smog coming through San Gorgonio Pass, but it was pretty nonetheless. The mountain that the sun is setting behind is San Jacinto Peak which Joel, Sarah, and Mark climbed in June of 2006.
Joshua tree silhouettes at sunset. (Nicely done Joel and Sarah!)
This is a photo of our fire pit from the big rock in our campsite (see below).
There is the rock in our site. During the day when the sun was a little warm it provided the perfect shade up against its face.
While on the subject of the weather, it was absolutely gorgeous. If it were any warmer it would have been uncomfortable. Friday night was pretty cold because there was a little frost in the morning. Saturday night didn't seem as cold, but both nights were good "sleeping weather!"
This is what a lot of the hiking around the desert looked like. This is in the Split Rock area that we explored on Sunday morning. There were a couple of rocks that we climbed, and the second of which was one of the more challenging, but also one of the most fun.
Looking out over the landscape.
A group shot underneath a huge rock
We had such a great time, and cannot wait to go back. The photos cannot even begin to capture the beauty of this desert environment. Most of the fun things we did were not able to be photographed as we were climbing through cracks, squeezing through and bending around rocks, and jumping around.