We woke up Saturday morning and headed over to listen to a chat about coyotes after I whipped up some gourmet instant oatmeal for breakfast. The park ranger chatted for an hour or so and then we left for a moderate hike up to Mastadon Peak, with an optional rock scramble up to the summit. It was a fun trail that wandered through all sorts of funky rock formations, dry creek beds, and even an old gold ore mine. We then meandered down to an oasis called Cottonwood Springs that was full of these massive towering palm trees crowding around a small spring. Wandering around in the desert, even on a relatively safe blazed trail, the lack of water is disconcerting. Asides from the one spring and some water fountains at the welcome center, there is absolutely no water, anywhere. You crave water just staring at the unending waves of brown brush and sand.
Later that day we headed over to the northwest corner of the park where most of the rock-climbing the park is famous for is located, along with the park’s namesake tree, the Joshua Tree.
After stargazing last night, we got up this morning and packed up our camp to move closer to the rock-climbing area to do some easy bouldering tomorrow, weather permitting. We spent today doing laundry and getting showers in town and hanging out at some of the local quirky joints, like the Crossroads Cafe.
Mileage: ~2300 miles driven.