Saturday, June 26, 2010

old hollywood honeymoon: joshua tree

We really did almost nothing during the honeymoon but lie around by the pool, which was intentional and fantastic. But I knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't venture outside of the lush confines of the Viceroy and actually see some of California. This was, after all, my first trip out west!

Our original idea was to rent a car for just one day; we would drive out to the Joshua Tree National Park for a morning hike and then come back in the afternoon, get some In-N-Out Burger (Palm Springs proper did not have one, for shame) and spend the rest of the day being lazy, as was our way. Well the daily highs were 105, which is okay in the shade, under misters, or in a pool, but not so great when you're tromping around the actual desert.

So we hopped on from our phones to rethink our options. The number one rated Palm Springs activity was something called Elite Land Tours. We made reservations for a nocturnal tour of Joshua Tree.

We were picked up the next evening at the hotel in a gleaming white Hummer. It was just Kirk and I and our guide, an extremely knowledgeable and chatty man who came with snacks. Snacks! Everyone loves snacks.

We drove out to Joshua Tree which involved going past this spectacular valley filled with windmills and then crossing the San Andreas Fault. After about 20 more minutes of driving, our guide suddenly turns off the road onto what I would've thought was unnavigable. We were actually taking some crazy back roads into a more pristine portion of the park. Quite the adventure.
On top of Eureka Peak

sunset at joshua tree

The first thing we did was hike to the top of Eureka Peak, which at sunset, provided some tremendous views of the surrounding desert. Also notable, the temperature at this elevation dropped to 60 at night! I was freezing my tail off.
not a tree
moon and tree(s)

After snapping some pictures, the guide drove us to our next stop: a wide expanse of Joshua trees and rock formations. We hiked around, saw a rattlesnake, and then as it became dark, we looked for scorpions! Our guide gave us black light flashlights that illuminate scorpions, making them look like glow in the dark toys. Hiking some more, he showed us the oldest tree in the park. (Interestingly, Joshua trees are not at all trees, just plants!)

The tour was pricey at $220 for both of us, but when we calculated what it'd cost for us to rent a car and just the one-on-one tour guide experience, we really felt it was worth it.

Next, we eat. A lot.

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