For quite a while I wanted to go back to the desert in and around Palm Springs during the summer time when it was hot and sunny. I also had planned to see Joshua Tree National Park and was really hyped up when it was finally time to go there for the day. There is a decent amount of information on the internet including the national parks website. You can also get beautiful photos and information on iPad apps, one of which I had bought. But being there in person was something else.
We headed out for Joshua Tree from the Palm Desert area on a weekday in July 2013. I had at least a half tank of gas and thought of filling up but noticed that the signs said there would be gas outlets prior to arriving at the south entrance to Joshua Tree. Well, I was unable to find any and as we got closer to the entrance to Joshua Tree, the area began to look more and more barren. I hoped we had enough gas to make it through the park and exit at the western exit on the north side. As it turned out, we did. But a word to the wise, fill up while you can before you go through the park as there is no gas in the park.
While the park is absolutely beautiful, there are no services in the park so be sure to bring what you need for however long you are going there. This means adequate water and food for each person in your vehicle. It is recommended that you carry 1 gallon (about 4 liters) of water for each person if you are not doing too much activity and 2 gallons (8 liters) per person if you will be doing some hiking. When we went, we brought large and small bottled water, some of it in a cooler filled with ice. We had rented a large SUV so it was hoped that the water outside the cooler would stay somewhat cool as we drove through the park. We also brought sandwiches, fruit and snacks; enough for the entire day. We had planned to hike so we wanted to be sure we have enough water and food.
Even if you had done research prior to going to the park, it is a good idea just to check in with the visitor center before you go further into the park, to see if you might need any maps or books or have any questions answered by the person staffing the center. We dropped by the Cottonwood Visitor Center near the south entrance to the park. We did find some information and brochures that were useful and in addition the person staffing the center told us to be careful of bees especially in this the summer season as they were attracted to anything with water, even the perspiration that we would give off. There were certain sections where we were told not to exit the vehicle as there was a high chance that we would be met by these bees.
We took a short walk around the trail that was beside the visitor center and just enjoyed our first close up view of the beauty of the park. But we hadn’t seen anything yet, as they say. And off we went to discover as much of the Joshua Tree National Park as we could in one full day. In coming posts, I’ll discuss where we went and what you can expect to see and experience in Joshua Tree. So please stay tuned.
If you decide to go to Joshua Tree National Park, go to the Joshua Tree National Park website for more information.