We decided to wet our camping feet with a park close to where we were staying in case we forgot something. Joshua Tree NP is a pretty park. Lots of rocks for rock climbers and Joshua Trees which aren’t really trees, they are a type of Yucca. It is a high and low altitude desert, high in the north, low in the south. Which means it is colder in the high area.
It was warm the day we entered the park, so we thought we would be okay in the high area. Mmmm. By mid afternoon on the second day a cold wind built up. It turned a really pleasant camping experience into a freezing one. Even though we were invited to share a fire with our neighbours in the next campsite, it was too cold to sit by it. That night it got down to 0C and the water in our kettle froze. I couldn’t find my gloves anywhere even though I thought I had packed them. You can’t book any campsites, so it’s the luck of the draw. We arrived late in the day and a sign on the visitors centre said the park was full. So we skipped the first campsite as I knew it was popular and we tried the second, we got a spot at Ryan, so didn’t have to try any more. Sitting at our table we had a magnificent view of the rocks and Joshua Trees as well as the ruins of an old homestead. Unfortunately the next day was overcast at sunrise, so I wasn’t able to get any good morning pictures. I hadn’t really realized the significance of low and high altitude until that night as we don’t go camping in high altitude at home. So I sat down with the help of a friend to find out which were high and which were low.
Lots of rocks, it's a desert
We had planned to travel to Death Valley next as it is a low altitude desert and gets too hot in summer, but it is the spring holiday break which means there are a lot of people camping. So we decided to head off to Las Vegas first and the Valley of Fire as it is also a low desert before Death Valley. Plans are meant to be flexible.