There are ditches, and there are ditches.
A few days spent with friends was enough to rejuvenate the legs and get some spectacular desert views.
Yesterday we returned to Joshua Tree National Park. There was a whipping tailwind all the way to the bottom of the 12-mile ascent, but cheery conversation and fresh legs made it pass in a flash. Of course beforehand we loaded up on necessaries like … water.
All the campgrounds were full, so we wandered off the road and improvised. When you don’t have a car or an RV, and the size of the park is bigger than Rhode Island, it’s easy to slip away. So we did! It was the ditch of all ditches.
We made camp coffee, drank some more water, then realized that we might not have enough. I walked back over to the road, stood on the shoulder, held up my empty bottle and begged. A nice couple stopped and gladly filled up my bottle for me. I walked back to the rock camp and we waited for the sun to descend. The giant stone we’d camped under threw a big cool shadow, so we sat and talked and whiled away the rest of the day.
When the colors began to get right, we got up and stomped around, taking pictures.
We put up the tent but left off the fly. “Let’s be quiet,” I said, “and see what we can hear.”
The only things we heard became our lullaby, coyotes barking mournfully at the moon, and the soughing of the wind.