The day before I left California, I discovered my favourite trail of all time. This trail meant more to me than I will share here, but the majestic rocks lit up in the morning light would have a profound effect on anyone.
Along the trail, bunnies jumped in and out of my path as though I was a visitor of no consequence. The large boulders, the rock-faced mountain range, and the spread of Joshua Tree and 29 Palms below were mesmerizing. I almost didn’t want to leave.
But, I get ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
This California trip was no random vacation. I was there on personal business with plenty of free time on my hands. I did not waste a single day that I was there. So, with only one day left, I decided I should work in one last hike before I go. Time was of the essence, so it had to be short, beautiful, and worth the drive.
I had been trying to get up early to do a morning hike all that trip, but always left out too late. This time, I went to bed at 8:00 PM and woke up at 4:00 AM. I hadn’t made much time for sleep all week, so the long sleep-in time before an early wake-up was very much appreciated.
I had breakfast, packed my things, and headed off to Joshua Tree National Park. The video below is the drive into the park along a dirt road. If you’re wondering, the music in the background is Marilyn Manson.
Sharing this video with people, I realise not everyone sees beauty in the desert, like I do. Even so, you get to see what wowed me. I actually pulled over to turn the camera on, because I didn’t ever want to have to wait until I came back to see this again.
I made it just in time as the sun crept up over the city below and the mountains behind me. The sun seems to rise and set surprisingly slow in the rural and suburban desert. Maybe it’s an illusion created by missing clouds and zero skyscrapers, but you notice it most when you’re outdoors for the show.
Straight ahead from the car was an open path, so I started my explorations there first. To my left was the beautiful rock formations you see above. There were no signs saying to keep off the rocks and bouldering is one of the activities people frequent this area for, so I’m assuming the rocks are fair game.
The further up the path I ventured, the more beautiful it became. Maybe the changing lighting had something to do with this, but so did the wildlife and vegetation. The bunnies do hop by very quickly, so unfortunately, I have no good shots of them on trails. These were much easier to capture.
Then, I came to the end of the trail, which was confusing since this was supposed to be a loop.
I looked around and saw a path to my left, so I took that over to some large boulders where you could see the sun yawning and stretching in the distance.
In Full Bloom
It took a little climbing, but I made my way up onto the rocks to get a better view. It was so worth it.
Unless I wanted to spend the morning bouldering, there was no trail after this, so I realised I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and headed back to the car.
The Nature Trail
Luckily, I had phone signal in the area, so I started looking the trail up online. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t find it immediately and who went hiking up to the boulders first. Someone mentioned wooden rails, so I started looking for that and found the entrance to the actual nature trail loop.
For the rest of this section, I’ll separate the pictures I took of nature from the informational boards along the trail. I kept the boards in order, so you can read them as I saw them.
The Nature Shots
The Trail Boards
Since returning to Atlanta, I’ve felt more disconnected from this place than I ever have before. The disconnect started in January when it first sank in that I was the wrong colour for virtually all the neighbourhoods I was considering for my tiny home.
It really made me reconsider if Georgia is a place I can commit to for the next 30 years and the answer is an unequivocal no. Home is where you feel welcome, and where I feel most welcome, has always been out west — especially in California.
I’m heading back next spring and will be sure to visit this area again when I do.