Wednesday February 22nd – We pack up this morning, as we are heading back to Joshua Tree NP; driving south through the park it is the shortest route to get us back to Tucson. Looking at the calendar and the atlas, we make travel plans so as to camp in the park and have a day for exploration. We find out at the entrance gate that finding a spot could be an issue, as several campgrounds are small with a 16’ limit. Luckily, the first campground on our route is Belle with an available campsite even though the sign says FULL. We pull into the spot,
but before we set up, we walk around the campground. Many of the sites are quite close together, so we are more than happy with our lucky find.
After we get set up, I walk out through the Joshua trees to the hills, which are giant boulder piles.
I find a nifty little arch, so go back to our campsite to get Clifford so he can see it, also.
After looking at the arch, we walk to another rock hill and find a vantage point from which to watch the setting sun.
Because of the wind, we go inside once we get back to camp and do our usual evening things, grateful for the opportunity to be here.
Thursday February 23rd– Super windy and cold, but beautiful blue sky this morning.
Today was meant to be our exploration day, but it is so cold and windy that we don’t leave until early afternoon. We plan to just drive around, but not do any hiking. However, when we get to the Skull Rock turnout, the sun has warmed the air enough that we do go for a hike.
Then we drive through Jumbo Rocks Campground, as it is the largest campground in the northern part of the park. The landscape is interesting, but the campsites are small and really really close together – designed for friendly people camping in tents, I guess.
At Hidden Valley, we find a pretty spot in the picnic area, but it is so windy that we end up sitting in the car to eat.
Then on to the trailhead and do the mile hike in Hidden Valley, which is a nearly-hidden lush desert valley where cattle rustlers used to hide their stolen cattle.
The tall hills that surround this valley are big piles of boulders, for the most part, and we can see where a creek sometimes runs through the valley bottom. We are protected from the wind here and warmed by the sun. What a great hike!
Back at camp we have dinner and do our usual evening activities.
Even though we are leaving in the morning, there isn’t really much to pack up this evening, as it was such a short stay. It is so pretty and unique here, I would love to stay longer, but Tucson is waiting.