I had a dilemma this morning before leaving Los Angeles. I had wanted to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit at The Broad before I left, but one of the days I was in town was a holiday, and the other two were jammed full of other goodness. I had been considering going back into the city to catch it this morning, but two things were stopping me. 1. They open at 11am, which is a difficult time of day if I want to get in, out and into the desert before dark. 2. You have to reserve a ticket to get into the show or be placed on a wait list when you show up. I could have chanced it, hoping that there would be no line. Eventually I decided to head into the desert without seeing the show with the hopes that it would eventually come to the Hirschhorn or the VMFA. Fingers crossed.
I left Los Angeles with a beautiful handmade gift from an old friend. Just like old times 🙂 It has joined the special items that adorn my rear view mirror. I hope he keeps creating, and always remembers to make a little time for himself.
Off to the desert I went. Joshua Tree was my ultimate destination for the day, but I didn’t want to get there too soon and have to deal with the intense mid day heat, so stopping along the way would be necessary. The drive out of Los Angeles had me thinking I had a flat tire. It turned out to just be the roads, but this impression will stick with me LA, mark my words! Seriously, if I never come back to LA it’s all because of the traffic. And maybe also because of the occasional overwhelming smell of dog urine on hot pavement. A few well placed dog parks with green space could really help with that. Just an idea, I’m no city planner or anything.
I stopped at a Starbucks in Yucca. It seems like a popular stop. It’s clean and the wifi is free so it was a win win. I caught up on some internetting, and grabbed a bite to eat. Then I found the Yucca library. It was tiny and packed. So I ventured on to the Joshua Tree library. Also tiny but not as crowded. So I grabbed a table and did a little photo editing and posted a blog entry.
I made my way into the park around 4pm. I chatted with the park ranger at the gate. He longs to be in NM rather than CA. He referred to LA as a toilet. His candor made me laugh, and forget to ask for a map. Dang! I’ll get over it. As I drove up into the park, the trees started to fill the landscape like some tiny animated creatures on a rocky landscape. I drove and drove, stopping occasionally to take photos, check out campgrounds, and look at potential trails to hike. I followed the road for so long that I eventually ended up at an unmanned North Entrance where I grabbed myself a map. I wonder how many people enter here for free.
I drove toward Cottonwood to see the Cactus Garden (see the feature photo). It might be even cooler than the Joshua Trees! I walked the loop of the garden looking at all the cool yet toxic multicolored cacti hoping to not get swarmed by thirsty bees. Yes, there were signs everywhere warning that the bees in the park are thirsty and will swarm you, your car, or whatever new thing they come upon in search for water. How do they not die of thirst? Not to worry though, they won’t sting. They just buzz.
Next I stopped at the Skull Rock trail for a little rock scrambling, climbing and a photo shoot. I could spend hours in this atmosphere of boulders. Skull Rock itself was littered with people so I skipped getting a photo there.
I found a campsite at Jumbo Rocks. It was $15. The sites throughout the park are all nestled in rocks. It has a cozy feel, though hammock campers will have to hunt for a place to hang their home. I joined the flock of humans scurrying along rocks, to catch the sunset.
Then, back at Ethel, I met a group of young women needing to borrow a cork screw. They invited me to join them for a glass of wine, but I was exhausted and declined. I noticed that there were quite a few single men and women, some solo and some in groups, in this park. I wonder what drew them all here. I have a good guess at why they were drawn to travel. But, why this park? And why haven’t I seen more single people in other stops? Hmm… Anyway, time for bed.