A little desert time to soothe the soul
By Meggan Wenbourne
With a new year upon us and a ton of moisture in the forecast, it is no wonder people are flocking to the desert. One destination to be experienced this time of year, if you can deal with the potential for sub-freezing temperatures, is Joshua Tree. In particular, Joshua Tree National Park for an endless supply of car to crag climbing.
I have to say I am a huge fan of five minute approaches and Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) is chock-full of them. Not only are the approaches short and sweet, but the rock is incredible. You’ll find nothing but incredible formations for as far as the eye can see once inside the park borders. Imagine if giants made stacks of rocks all over the desert landscape and you pretty much have set yourself up to imagine what Joshua Tree formations resembles – I have never seen anything like it.
There is something for every type of climber here as well. You will see people packing around crash pads and full trad racks as well as nothing but draws. Campsites are completely full of climbers from all over the world this time of year and yet, you will always find a place to stay.
One noteworthy experience through our long weekend in J Tree was no one encountered anyone in bad mood, not a single person. It is something special about being in the desert that just takes the angry out of everyone. Everywhere you looked you would only find people having a good time pushing their limits and making new friends.
I am happy to say the only bad things I came away from this trip with were some bruises and pair of shoes burnt from a campfire, everything else was irreplaceable and absolutely spectacular.
Here’s to another year of incredible climbing and safe travels to and from the mountains.
Meggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.