About an hour outside of Palm Springs, there is a really cool place in the desert called Joshua Tree National Park. For $20, the price of a park pass for a week, we enjoyed the biggest jungle gym you could imagine. The park is huge, and we didn't make a lot of plans other than just getting to it. As soon as we stopped the car for our first photo op, we realized we were in for a good day. The rocks are almost sticky, which makes climbing them really fun.
We felt like we were on another planet, and the park is so big that you don't pass a lot of other people. I did not pay close enough attention to the signs warning visitors to bring in enough water... by the days end we were out of water. Although originally we had thought we might spend an hour or two at the park, and we wound up being there all afternoon. It's beautiful - in a somewhat strange way.
The littlest explorers proved to be great hikers, and when Poppy got too tired she climbed up onto my back. It's been awhile since I have worn her in a carrier, but she seemed more than happy to settle in and enjoy the view. Because the park covers a vast area where two different deserts meet, there is a lot of different landscapes. At the beginning the land was flatter with small rock piles, and soon the small piles turned into massive rock hills. Things flattened out a little and we saw the famed Joshua Trees, followed by large rocks that were rounder in shape - but huge. Just as the sun was beginning to set we made our way to the cactus gardens, and the earth started to turn into a reddish colour. It was a really interesting day, one of our favourites on the trip. Something about exploring a new place at your own pace - it makes you feel like you truly are an explorer. And getting to learn about new places alongside Soren and Poppy is just so special. As parents we tend to be in teaching mode most of the time, but it's refreshing to all get to learn something new together.
To complete our day in the desert, we stopped at In and Out burger on our way home. Perhaps we were a little overtired and dehydrated, but those burgers (and milkshakes!) tasted delicious! Soren reported to a friend yesterday that his favourite part of the whole trip was in and out.