After spending a day in the Salton Sea area, we made it to our intended destination, Joshua Tree National Park. We only had 2 total days here so it was going to be a challenge to jam in everything we wanted to do; and J-Tree has a lot to do.
Entering into the park has a similar feel to Zion, where one moment you’re in a small town and then the next you’re surrounded by wild nature. Oddly enough, there was more snow on the ground here than back in Chicago. Despite the cool air, the sun kept us comfortable with only a light jacket. The Indian Cove campground (C) was packed with climbers and campers. There are crags peppered throughout the campground and many were occupied by winter breaking college students, teens, and, in some cases, families with multiple generations of climbers. It was pretty evident that J-Tree is an old-school crag that has been climbed for decades.
The climbing routes were so close to our site, I could have belayed Aly from the tent. After messing around on some short routes, we drove into Twentynine Palms and grabbed some pizza and beer. We were looking forward to admiring some stars however, the Moon was ridiculously bright. We brought our headlamps but, had no need for them as you could walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night and never miss a step. (As an aside, Alison aka “National Park Rustic Camping Toilet Expert” considers the bathroom facilities at Indian Cove campground to be the nicest we’ve ever come across. It was a pit toilet but, it was impeccably clean. The best part, however, was that a very kind camper placed a huge scented candle on the floor. This both made the bathroom smell like lavender and also provided just enough the right amount of light. Lesson learned: Bring a large scented candle when car camping.) Besides the glorious restroom facilities, this was some of the best camping we’ve ever done; still, cool air made climbing into your sleeping bag a joy. Knowing we were going to start early the next day, we settled into our tent soon after dark and went to sleep.