Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going back to the desert!

Some of you may recall that last October, I took my lady Kat out to Joshua Tree. I had been there (and other areas around the Mojave Desert) in my youth, but it had been years since my last visit, and Kat had never experienced the unique beauty of the desert. We ended up having a terrific time, and vowed that we'd head back soon.

Well, "soon" has become "now". Not only have we planned a trip and reserved lodging, but this time, our pal Triana is coming along for the ride!

Beating the Real Heat
As you may have gathered, it gets a little warm in the desert. In July and August, for example, a typical day might hit 110ยบ of brutal, punishing heat that can actually kill you if you don't protect yourself. But our upcoming trip, slated for the beginning of June, will still be manageable, with highs in the mid-90s. In any case, looking at the calendar, this is about the last time we could go before next Fall, and we didn't want to wait that long. Also, since Kat and I like to skygaze through our cool little telescope, we had to plan the trip to coincide near a new moon... hence the plan for early June.

Things to Do in the Desert
It's been my experience that there are three types of desert trips.

• Pampered Spa Trip: This is usually a trip to Palm Springs, for people who like to stay at a resort and spend their days in saunas and jacuzzis, getting pedicures, and shopping at overpriced boutiques. They might as well be in Miami, or Vegas. Not my kinda thing. Just saying.

• Crazy-Ass Desert Rat Trip: These people wouldn't dream of making a lodging reservation. They pack up the truck with tents and sleeping bags and Coleman stoves, pick up a few slabs of meat and cases of beer, and go out into the far reaches of the Mojave to do God knows what. Usually involves peyote and shotguns. Not my kinda thing (anymore). Just saying.

• Desert Immersion, Non Crazy-Style Trip: This is a trip for people who want to experience the unique beauty of the desert without necessarily placing themselves or others in life-threatening situations. The perfect place for this trip is the Joshua Tree National Park. When you go exploring along the trails, you can really immerse yourself in the vibe of the desert, and still be within a short drive of civilization.

That's why we're going back to the same place we went last fall... the Desert Lily Inn, which is right on the border of the park itself. This time, however, instead of staying at the bed & breakfast, we're renting one of Carrie's terrific little cabins. Not only is it more cost effective with three of us coming along (we'd have had to get two rooms at the B&B, obviously), but it'll be a neat situation where we can cook our own food, hang out by ourselves with the quail and coyotes, and just do whatever the hell we want, any time we want to do it.

The front of the Desert Lily. So happy to be going back again, for the scenery, fun, and wiping the city from my brain for a short while!

Obviously, we'll be exploring around the park again... places like the Hidden Valley Nature Trail deserve at least a second pass (if not a third, fourth and so on). There are also areas of the park that Kat and I didn't get to last time, so perhaps we'll check them out as well. In any case, the main western entrance to the park is only a couple of miles up the road from the Desert Lily, so we can do all the exploring we want.

We also plan on going into town for at least one meal, and probably to pick up supplies. We very well may dine again at Pappy & Harriet's, a legendary barbeque and live music spot in Pioneertown. Like most things in Joshua Tree, there a lovable degree of kookiness about it, but that's all part of the charm of the high desert.

The three musketeers of Triana, Kat, and Zak, heading off toward new horizons!

Can't Wait!
Triana will be flying here from Minnesota on a Thursday night, and then we'll hit the road on Friday to make the most of the trip. In any case, I am completely looking forward to this adventure!

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