Joshua Tree National Park is one of our favorite places to camp, and not just because it's super cheap. It's only a couple hours from Los Angeles, but it's far enough to allow for the most amazing stargazing, and they have lots of fun hikes - think rock scrambling and palm oases a la Arabian Nights. Also, cell phones don't work in the middle of the park, and sometimes, we just need to be forced to slow down.
Joshua Tree has these amazing rock formations from a bazillion years ago (that's an official term) when the whole area was covered in water. They're stunning, to say the least.
They also provide perfect platforms to lie back and just stare at the night sky. Just grab a yoga mat, a blanket, and you'll be so comfortable you could sleep out there. We always see shooting stars, which really, everyone should have an opportunity to experience. There is something really breathtaking and humbling about how large the sky is, and how small the earth is. And then something from space falls into our atmosphere and flares for just a brief second, sometimes longer if you're lucky, and is gone. We always shout out. You can't help it - it's something you want to share.
I wish that was my picture but I'm too lazy and inexperienced to set up my camera to take an awesome shot like that. But I can definitely vouch that it's just that beautiful!
We did a great little hike to this slot canyon, which opened up to a secret little spot with an old, gnarled tree. To geek out for a minute, it felt like something out of Lord of the Rings. The sun was winding down and the light in the canyon was cool and filtered. It was a quiet little space with an expansive blue sky overhead, guarded by ancient rocks. It's little moments like this that make you so happy to just be.
We headed home on Saturday and got back to Los Angeles by noon. We had the whole afternoon and evening, plus all of Sunday, left to enjoy. A wonderfully relaxing weekend. And how much did it cost?
$20.00 - two nights at Jumbo Rock campground
$40.00 - one tank of gas (it actually took less than one tank to get there and back)
$25.00 - sandwich fixings, homemade soup and tamales for dinners
$40.00 - breakfasts Friday and Saturday mornings at diners
= $125.00 total for two people, two nights and 3 days
Pretty cheap vacay if I do say so myself!