Scoping out Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday turned out to be a good idea as rainy weather approached along with cooler temperatures in the park over a busy weekend.
I left the Salton Sea Friday morning and met friends for breakfast in Indio. Shopped and then headed to the Joshua Tree National Park west entrance. Didn’t actually go into the park until the following day. Instead took advantage of the free 14-day limit BLM land that runs adjacent to the park boundary. Barely within sight of I10 and couldn’t hear the traffic. Surprisingly good signal and fast internet. Scrubby creosote bushes and a few Palo Verde trees along a good gravel road.
I didn’t want to deal with weekend visitors to the park so planned to stay here until Monday. Also knew a storm was approaching out of the west bringing wind, rain and a drop in temperature that could last through the weekend. So I really wanted to find a place to hunker in.
Saturday morning I drove the 6.5 miles to Cottonwood Visitor Center to pick up my park paper work, map, list of Ranger programs and a Junior Ranger book. Luckily their bookstore also sold the California Benchmark map/atlas which I’ve been looking for since starting my wanderings in December. All campgrounds in the park except Cottonwood were already full and that one filling rapidly.
Wind started to pick up and instead of wasting fuel driving further into the park I headed back to my BLM camp utilizing the pullouts for some photo ops. My plan is to stay at White Tank campground for several days however it is located at 3800’ so I already know it will be cooler than I’d like.
No rain until Sunday morning, and then all day and night a gentle female rain fell that the desert so loves. Kept me inside on the computer and dressed in an extra layer as it never broke 50. Hey, that’s cold to me.
When the sun broke through that was my cue to head into the park. I’ve been told there is absolutely no signal there. Guess that will give me more time to hike amongst the boulders and take lots of photos. If I’m seen shaking it’s probably because of internet withdrawal. But detox doesn’t last long when I connect to nature.
I give this BLM camp a good rating for convenience to the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. Water District Road—seen in the above photo from my camper—was busy with maintenance vehicles all day and into the night. Don’t know what they were doing. Wouldn’t want to be here during very heavy rain due to a possible wash out of the levee along an aqueduct that held no water while I was here. Internet and cell signal were good but I lost that upon entering the park which is surrounded by mountains. Not crowded and I see all sizes of RVs. Highly recommend especially if park campgrounds are full.
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