To celebrate our 30th and 60th birthdays, my mom and I spent a weekend drying out in the desert. We delighted at the mid-century modern art and architecture lining the streets of Palm Springs, scoured antique shops and old book stores, and escaped the afternoon heat by reading poolside or meandering through shaded fan palms in the foothills of Indian Canyon.
We took advantage of Joshua Tree’s proximity to Palm Springs and spent a whole day exploring the park. Joshua Tree felt spiritual, otherworldly, and a bit spooky to me. We learned that Joshua Trees aren’t actually trees, but a variety of Yucca. Their twisted shapes and long shadows made them feel like ancient ghosts. Strolling through long stretches of desert, cactus gardens, and marveling at million-year-old rock, I was constantly reminded of the unforgiving nature of this kind of landscape. With no water or clear landmarks in sight, we took our time exploring nature trails and climbing boulders, making sure not to wander too far without orienting ourselves first.
Despite the severe conditions of this desert landscape, there was something magical about the palette there and the way the colors changed so dramatically with the shifting light. We ended our hiking day with a life-giving espresso at Joshua Tree Coffee Roasters, followed by beers, burgers, and fries at Pappy & Hariettes, an old tavern that felt like a Western movie set.
After a few days warming our bones and bumping up that Vitamin D deficiency, I’m feeling ready for the wet, verdant Big Dark that is Seattle winter.