The Wind and the Wilderness

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I finally went backpacking! I actually did it!  When my dad and I got out of the car, we were in a valley in the middle of Joshua Tree, completely alone and surrounded by mountains.  Hiking through the valley,  the ground was so flat that you could seen uninterrupted for miles in either direction.  Walking alone, surrounded by huge rock formations, I felt so small and insignificant.  The breathtaking landscape was so picturesque that it seemed like it had been manufactured for a zoo or a museum, too perfect to be natural.  For the first day, the sky was clear and warm, completely unlike the frigid weather of my previously planned route. However, as our hike continued the wind began to pick up, eventually becoming 50 mph gusts.  When planning my trip the night before, I had originally thought we would hike to the base of  Quail Mountain and then climb to the top even though there wasn’t a trail.  However, about halfway up the mountain, the gusts had gotten much worse and between the wind and my 22 pound pack I was having difficulty balancing. I felt like i was falling uphill.  I decided it would be safer to go back down and try to find a place to set up camp that would be more sheltered.  

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When backpacking in Joshua Tree, you camp anywhere as long as your camp is at least 500 feet away from any trails. After descending the mountain, I found the perfect camp spot but it was much too close to the trail.  Finally, after what seemed like forever of searching in the wind, we found another great spot. Little did we know that this was the same spot I had spotted before and we had actually just made a huge loop!

 

Just as before, the sunset and stars were absolutely stunning. One of my favorite things about camping is that once the sun goes down, I get to go to bed! When the sun went down around 6:30, I didn’t really have anything to do so I got ready for bed too.  Unlike last time, I wasn’t freezing! The wardrobe changes I had made worked!
Then next morning we woke up with the sun and after a quick breakfast packed up early. As we got ready to go, grey storm clouds were quickly rolling in; the ten o’clock storm.  Hiking back to the car I was still in awe of how big and astounding the valley we were in.  Joshua Tree is truly inspiring and gave me so many ideas as to places or trips I would like to do in the future. I hope to be back again soon, so stay tuned for my next adventure.

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