Monday, March 10, 2014

Recap of Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego

Audrey in Jumbo Rocks campground
As you may have guessed, we’ve been off the grid for several days. (It definitely made us realize how many times a day we use our phones to look something up on Google!) We spent March 5 and 6 at Jumbo Rocks campground inside Joshua Tree which had a completely different feeling than the Black Rock Canyon campground where we’d started the week. At Jumbo Rocks (as you may have gathered by the name) we were surrounded by huge boulders which looked otherworldly during the day but even more so at night with the moonlight reflected on them. During our two days we took quite a few hikes: Hidden Valley, Skull Rock, Barker Dam, and Desert Queen Mine, as well as drove out to see Keys View, which was incredibly impressive. While Jeff was out exploring around our campsite one day (and I was hard at work on a nap) he came across a cool labyrinth that who-knows-how-many-people have built over the years. When he took me back there the following day I think I took about 150 pictures of the area because it was just so peaceful and visually stunning — exactly what I’d hoped to see and feel while at Joshua Tree. We also made sure to listen to The Joshua Tree album by U2 on Wednesday night. That’s definitely one of my “desert island” albums - it just never gets old — and I couldn’t help but wonder how many thousands of people before us had listened to that album while at the park.
Lovely labyrinth

When we left J Tree (as the climbers call it) on Friday morning we drove through Mecca, CA and saw so many cool things growing: grapefruit, lemons, palm trees (we believe for Hearts of Palm), grapes and oranges. I’m sure to the locals we looked like big ol’ dorks pointing out the window at each new crop we passed. We made a quick stop for gasoline and Starbucks (civilization!) then drove south along the western edge of the Salton Sea and headed toward Borrego Springs. I follow several full-time Airstreamers on Instagram and I knew that they’d boondocked at Anza-Borrego and we wanted to check it out.

In case you’re not familiar with the term “boondocking” it basically means camping out in the boondocks. For example, at Joshua Tree we were “dry camping” which means we didn’t have any hookups and relied solely on our water tanks, holding tanks and solar power, but we were in an established campground. Boondocking is the same thing, but out in the middle of nowhere. Much of the empty land around the western US is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and you can camp for free on it for up to 14 days at a time. You are expected to use existing fire rings (if available) and leave the spot exactly as you found it, but otherwise it’s all yours! The area we’re in is 7 miles to the east of Borrego Springs and it’s a popular boondocking spot — although from what I’ve read it’s not officially BLM land — but has enough wide open spaces that you can drive back further from the main road and be quite isolated.

All by ourselves
We did pick a spot a long way from the road and it was incredibly impressive there for our three-night stay. It was great to be alone and not hear other people, but I will admit that I was pretty nervous falling asleep the first night. I mean, what if some creepy serial killer came up to our trailer and cut his way through the window screens and and attacked us?! It didn’t help that we heard a bunch of coyotes howling and yipping beginning at sunset and continuing on and off all through till sunrise. Jeff talked me back from the ledge and reminded me of all the peeps I follow on Instagram who’ve stayed there with their families quite safely, so I got over it and felt better the remaining two nights. [Although, there were certainly other dangers we hadn't foreseen - check out yesterday's post.]
If you look very closely you can see our nearest neighbors to the right of the awning

Now that it’s Monday morning we’re headed toward the California coast, specifically, San Clemente State Beach which we read good things about online. We’re looking forward to long walks along the beach and eating some fresh seafood. It’s also time to find a laundromat and hit another grocery store. :-)

One last pic from Joshua Tree - I just loved this place near the labyrinth in the setting sun.

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