There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who realize this is a ludicrous idea. I'm one of the latter, but if I were to make such a ridiculous sweeping generalization, I'd say there are those who "get" the desert, and those who don't. And really, nothing against those who don't. It's not for everyone. If you're afraid of insects and reptiles, don't go there. If you don't like getting dusty and dirty, stay somewhere else. If your idea of a perfect vacation is to be pampered at a spa, with haute cuisine restaurants and boutique shops all around you... well, that's kind of fun too, but you really won't like the desert.
Fortunately, I took a chance and introduced Kat to the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park for the first time back in 2010, and she loved it immediately. So much, in fact, that we returned in June 2011, this time with our friend Jess. What's the appeal of the desert? It's very difficult to put into words. As opposed to talking about the specifics -- scenery, wildlife, incredible landscapes, nice people, and so on -- I'll just say that there's a vibe that permeates Joshua Tree that allows one to relax and be at peace. Most people ask, "But what do you do there?" and there really is plenty to do, with one of the nation's great national parks right there and plenty of interesting things to see and experience. But moreover, in the desert, you can find yourself doing nothing at all, and still appreciating it. I tend to talk less in the desert; the silence is too pretty to be broken by unnecessary words.
If you don't find this beautiful, well... we can probably still be friends, but I doubt we have much in common.
Just looking at this photo makes me want to dive into the picture and start scrambling around the rocks.
Dawn and dusk in the desert brings out all manner of wildlife that you won't find in any other environment on the planet.
So Why Am I Telling You All This?
Because we're going back. And this time, we're kidnapping our friend Bunny to come along for the ride.
Kat has been through huge turmoil at work for the past few months. Bunny has his own difficulties with the day-in, day-out challenges of modern life. And me? Well, most of you Loyal Readers know that I'm a single dad and a business owner while also trying to be a rock star of sorts. I tend to push aside most of the stress in my life, but every so often, no matter who you are, you need to find the release valve for the pressure that builds inside you. I'm no different. So something is in order for each of us to break up the outlook of everyday life, and in my mind, there's no better place to do that than the desert.
We're once again going back to the Desert Lily Inn, our hidden jewel of a home away from home in Joshua Tree. Like last time, we've rented one of Carrie Yeager's cabins, Casa Rosita, to call home during our trip. Her bed & breakfast is lovely, but the seclusion of the cabin really allows one to get away from it all on a 24/7 basis. Kat has been urging me to book this trip for awhile, and despite the fact that we can have a great time with just the two of us getting away from it all, we decided (without informing him) that Bunny would really love it there and would be s fun addition to our little fellowship, so we're going to kidnap him and take him with us.
What Will We Do There?
Who cares? Really. We don't make huge plans on these trips. The last thing we want to do is have some trip where every single event is scheduled moment by moment. We'll cruise around the park... that huge, indescribably gorgeous collection of rock outcroppings, desert plants, and amazing wildlife. We'll probably make some music; if you can't be inspired to write music in Joshua Tree, you should probably hang up your instrument forever. Bunny and I will bring some guitars and some percussion stuff that we can use for writing tunes, doing jams, and all that good stuff. We'll eat some meals, both those which we cook and those we have in some funky desert restaurants.
But for the most part, we'll just... be. You can do that in the desert, perhaps better than anywhere else I've experienced. Try sitting for an hour, not really saying anything or even thinking anything, and not needing to or wanting to. It's not as easy as it sounds in most environments. If I was forced at gunpoint to choose one word that Joshua Tree represents to me (an unlikely scenario, but go with me on this), I think that word is this: