Exploring Joshua Tree National Park

Back in March, we drove out to the desert for a little weekend road trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The weather was brisk and there was lots to see and explore with Hoku, even with the park's pet restrictions, which stipulate that dogs must be within 100 ft of the road, campground or picnic area. Some of our favorite stops included the areas around the Hidden Valley and Jumbo Rocks campgrounds, where we discovered that our pup is a natural rock scrambler. In addition, the park's dog-friendly, backcountry roads gave us an opportunity to put our Outback's 4WD to the test with a bumpy joyride over dirt and sand. Here are some snapshots from our trip! 

Desert Days & Desert Nights

Since hiking with Hoku at Joshua Tree National Park was fairly limited, we were ecstatic to find this amazing dog friendly AirBnB on a gorgeous hundred acre property that had miles of private trails for us to explore all to ourselves. In the mornings before heading into the park, which was only a 5-10 minute drive down the road, we hiked along the trails and even did a little bit of light bouldering. Aren't the colors of the desert just spectacular?

I don't know about yours, but my curious pup always likes to stick his face in all kinds of shrubs and bushes in pursuit of lizards and little critters. In areas prone to rattlesnakes, like the high desert, we try to keep him on a tight leash and avoid tall shrubs at all costs, but unfortunately we can't keep an eye on him all the time and will sometimes turn around to find him with his nose in a bush. At times like these, I get a little bit of relief knowing that Hoku's had rattlesnake aversion training, which I highly recommend and has saved his butt in the past. 

Climbing down, through and under boulders and trying not to think about rattlesnakes and a potential "127 Hours"/"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" situation. 

In the evenings, after spending a full day exploring the park, we cozied around the fire pit eating chili and drinking wine and tequila out of tin cups (totally classy) while watching the desert sunset. But the real show started at 9 when the sky got really dark. There is nothing like stargazing in the middle of the desert in the warmth of a campfire, miles away from all the light pollution and noise of the city. That's us in our happy place.