Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Camping at Joshua Tree

Ryan Campground, Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree National Park, Desert
Driving in to Ryan Campground at Joshua Tree National Park.

I went to Joshua Tree on the cusp of September and October, to spend a night in the Mojave Desert with friends. The popular camping season in Joshua Tree National Park starts with the arrival of cooler temperatures in Southern California.  When I went off-season last year, the temperatures were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making hikes more difficult.  Since the campgrounds are first come, first serve in the cooler seasons, we set out early in the day.

After a 2.5 hour drive and a long search, we claimed a spot at Ryan Campground.  We had originally wanted a spot at a different campground, but everything was full (Jumbo Rocks is very popular, but it's super crowded).  Personally, I really liked Ryan Campground.  There were less people and our site was incredibly spacious.  Once we had set up camp, where I pitched a tent on my own, I went to explore the surrounding wilderness by our site. 

Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, DSLR, Landscape Photography, Desert Photography
Joshua Tree landscape.

Joshua Tree is famous for its surreal and unusual landscape. The park and surrounding county are filled with joshua trees, which are the ones with the spindly, green leaves. Gigantic rock formations are piled high within the park.  There isn't much grass to be found.  Instead, the land is crowded with small, short shrubs that grow out of the dry ground.  There were a lot of cacti, yucca plants, and juniper bushes.  All the flora in the desert have small leaves, minimizing water loss.

juniper bush, desert plants
A juniper bush.
Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, DSLR, Landscape Photography, Desert Photography
Venturing into the wilderness.

Getting the campfire lit.
Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, DSLR, Landscape Photography, Desert Photography
Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, DSLR, Landscape Photography, Desert Photography
Landscape of trees near our campsite; view of the campsite from atop a rock formation.

One of the best things about camping is that there is no cell phone service in the wilderness.  I signed out of all my social media apps and put my phone into airplane mode, using it only as a flashlight when night fell.  It was incredibly freeing to be disconnected from the world to just enjoy being in the outdoors.  The air was cleaner and the sounds of the city were left behind.  The only thing I had to do was to be present in the moment and with nature.

Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, DSLR, Landscape Photography, Desert Photography
Part of the Milky Way; Joshua Tree at night.

Being at Joshua Tree is like being on another planet, one that is covered in alien looking plants and rock piles.  I loved donning my hiking boots and trekking around with abandon.  I loved being able to see the stars; it was so clear that the Milky Way was visible and I managed to snap a part of it on my camera.  There are piles of rocks to climb up and between.  I've always thought of deserts as vast expanses of sand, but there were an unbelievable amount of plants and nooks to take shelter from the sun.

I had a really good time exploring and hanging out with people I don't get to see very often.  There was a sign on our campground that noted the maximum stay allowed was 14 nights.  I was incredibly tempted to pay the fees and live out there for two weeks.  I'm not an outdoorsy person at all so I think it speaks to how awesome it is out there.  Until I see you again, Joshua Tree.  I'll be back.

17 comments :

  1. I have heard such good things about Joshua Tree and definitely want to organise a trip when I am in the area.

    The stars are so beautiful! Sounds like it was a wonderful trip away

    nat // dignifiable

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  2. I've never even thought about camping at Joshua Tree, but you've got me considering it! Your photos are gorgeous, and it sounds like it had to have been a good time.

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

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  3. amazing photos! the landscape looks surreal
    xoxo
    style frontier

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  4. These photos are absolutely stunning. I want to visit so badly and see it for myself. I love the idea of disconnecting completely. Breathtaking photos Alyse!!! Seriously swooning right now.

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  5. omg the night view is insane! you can see the stars so clear. i just want to lay down and look at them forever! the landscape is so surreal. i'd love to go and camp there. definitely putting it in my to-go list!

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  6. Gosh, the sky at night though! Stunning. This is one place I would LOVE to visit.

    Meg | Elmpetra

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  7. Hey Alyse, I've seen a lot of photos of Joshua tree online, Instagram and what not but your photos are the first that seem to really capture the beautiful surroundings of Joshua Tree. I love the idea of getting close to nature, switching off and watching the stars :) If I ever make it to Southern Cali, this place is on my list!

    Hanh | hanhabelle

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  8. These landscape photos are beautiful Alyse! I especially love that shot with the rock formation, it's beautiful! It must have been amazing to see the stars come out at night. I haven't been camping since I was a little girl, but I still remember how much fun it used to be. I would love to camp out at a place like this!

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  9. that is such a beautiful place to camp in. Are those stars for real? omg, I want to stare at that heaven for hours. I don't think this kind of view exist in Asia. What a lovely experience :)

    Love, kandice.

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  10. Surreal indeed! It looks amazing here. I'm not the biggest fan of camping but I'd do it for that landscape.

    Jane / deluminators

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  11. Wow! The photos look like an other planet as well! Absolutely beautiful, so cool!
    WritingMonique

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  12. Amazing, so glad you've had a nice trip away. I've been trying to get away to the 'countryside' for some sort of stargazing but it's hard when you don't have a car... I'm not a huge fan of camping either (I don't think I would survive, seeing that the last time I camped we got stuck inside the tent and had to cut ourselves out using a Swiss Army knife) but would love to do something similar to this! Wonderful pictures <3


    Cherie | sinonym

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  13. It looks like the perfect place to disconnect and just chill. I'm not outdoorsy either but seeing those stars is definitely worth it! Crazy beautiful x
    Maya Not Mya

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  14. I don't consider myself an outdoorsy person either. Joshua Tree has some beautiful scenes; I especially love that last shot you got! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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  15. First come, first serve campgrounds sounds unruly LOL. But I'd love to visit this park someday and camp out here--I'm a sucker for camping out in remote places for the sake of stargazing and astrophotography! The landscape here is just an added perk :)

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  16. If you plan to prepare meals for the entire group of campers or your whole family at the campsite, websites for camping supplies dealing in cookware give good choices for the feast at campfire. Try here

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