I was tantalized by articles touting the super bloom in the desert this year. In the wake of a wetter than usual winter, visions of colorful desert flowers danced in my head. When planning a brief SoCal trip to visit my sister—who recently moved to L.A. from Brooklyn—I suggested an overnight to Joshua Tree.

A visit to the National Park, more than twenty years ago, is seared in my memory. Following a glorious day of rock climbing for the first time, I proceeded to lose my camera, which I never recovered. I fantasize about that day and have created an epic tale in my head, mostly because there is no documentation that it actually happened.

Joshua Tree is a few hours’ drive from her new pad in Santa Monica, and I had pictured my sis and me and our three kids crashing in a dive motel on the outskirts of the park.

My sister is more of a Glamper, if that, and still adjusting to the “outdoor” life, so when my brother-in-law offered to rent a swanky house in Palm Springs instead, it sounded great to me. Right out of Mad Men, the house even had piped in Frank Sinatra music and a luxurious pool. The mid-century modern design called for cocktails, and suffice to say we got off on our day trip to the park later than I would have liked.

Amply hydrated and once inside the park, the Seussian Joshua Trees impressed me. The colorful blooms of red, yellow, purple and fuchsia were exciting to witness. It felt so dry and yet the lush, gem-like blossoms were remarkably abundant. We recited Green Eggs and Ham as an ode to Dr. Seuss, who must have been inspired by the unique and quirky landscape.

A stop at Key View vista point overlooking the San Bernardino Mountains and Coachella Valley conjured more visions. The Peter Gabriel song San Jacinto was playing on repeat in my head. The expanse of the desert and the artificial reality of Palm Springs is such a contrast, even more so than it was 20 years ago in the wake of the Rio Climate summit.

We had packed a picnic and found an abandoned adobe hut with a bit of shade on our hike at Ryan Ranch. My son, niece and nephew climbed the boulders, chased lizards and we all marveled at the landscape, blue sky and distant snow-capped mountains. My sister remarked how quiet it was and how good she felt out in nature—something I have been trying to explain to her since I moved to California all those years ago.

Filed Under Adventure Travel, California, Eco Friendly Travel, Family Travel, National Parks, Palm Springs, Rock Climbing, national park


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