I got in pretty late to the BLM land just outside of Joshua Tree National Park where I was staying that night. The land is accessed via some quite rutted and bumpy dirt roads, but I managed to navigate my way through (I’m glad there was no rain) and find a spot for the night. The next morning I woke very early, I think it was around 5. I’m not sure if I was woken by thunder or not but it was lucky as not too far off was a massive storm with rain so heavy that the distant houses and hills had completely disappeared. I didn’t think twice, I threw some clothes on and hightailed it out of there, I definitely didn’t want to be there when it hit. I was back on the sealed road and on my way to Starbucks when it hit, and boy did it hit, there were rivers of water running across the road. I now saw what they were talking about when they said not to park in washes (look like dried up river beds) the amount of water was intense.
I sat in Starbucks for a while as the rain came down, so decided to look for some rainy day activities. I found a yoga studio not too far away and really close to the entrance to Joshua Tree with a class on at the right time, so headed there. It was really nice to get on the mat, it had been a while. After the class the rain had eased so I headed into Joshua tree national park.
The park isn’t massive and the main part can easily be done in one day. There are some longer hikes that can take you from one part of the park to another if you were after that sort of thing, but most of the sights are accessible by car with short walks/hikes.
My first stop was hidden valley, a 1.6k loop trough a valley surrounded by amazing massive boulders that the park is famous for. The story is that back in the day, when rain in the are was higher, cattle rustlers used to use it as a hideout to graze cattle. Now-days the pastures are gone, but the valley still houses an eco-system that is slightly different from the rest of the park.
Next stop was Barker Dam. The rain had started coming down again when I got there so I made myself some lunch and watched Netflix in the back of the van, while I waited for the rain to subside. Once the rain finally stopped I headed in. There was allot of water around, the path in was a river of water. It was amazing to see how much water was still coming off the boulders and land even after the rain had stopped. The trail wasn’t very hard and had some great views of the landscape as well as some well preserved Petroglyphs left by ancient Puebloan people.
Next I hit up the keys view, which is a lookout over the other side of the park. It wasn’t too exciting, very barren and with all the rain around it was pretty hazy.
My last stop was to see skull rock, which is pretty self explanatory. It was a rushed visit as the clouds were rolling in again and I didn’t really feel like getting caught in the rain.