Last spring, I went to Joshua Tree National Park and it did not go as planned. The weather and other factors conspired to cut our trip short, and my husband and I ended up only seeing a tiny little corner of the park, far removed from the well-trafficked areas with all the iconic rock formations and clusters of other-worldly Joshua trees. Now we have an adventurous baby girl (I was pregnant with her during our last trip), and couldn’t wait any longer to take on her first visit to a National Park. My brother was coming to visit us, and we decided it would be the perfect time to take a day trip out to Joshua Tree. What we didn’t realize, was that the day we picked also happened to be a national holiday, which naturally meant the park would be pretty crowded. Even better, it was one of this year’s Fee-Free days, making it one of the busiest days of the year.
I love the idea of fee-free days because it encourages more people to get out and experience the beauty of America’s National Parks, but I’m also rather selfish with my nature; I want it to myself. When I’m hiking, I want to encounter as few people on the trail as possible, and if a trail is too crowded, especially with hikers who don't follow good trail etiquette, it can really threaten to ruin the experience.
So we drove out eastward, over the mountains and into the desert toward Joshua Tree National Park. We knew as we approached the park that it would be a really crowded day, but we were excited to get to see the park’s iconic landscape, nonetheless.
And then the car started to overheat...Read more