This article is continuation from my first day in the park: Peace and Solitude Weekend in Joshua Tree National Park
I hiked out from my spot off of the Boy Scout Trail and was greeted by many people heading up the trail for a day of fun. The parking lot was filled to capacity, you could tell it was a busy weekend in the park. I unloaded my trash, gathered my re-supply of water and food. Then decided to roam around the park a bit before starting off on my next day’s adventures. I headed to the Keys View area to take in the big panoramic scene looking down into the Coachella Valley.
The week before my cousin, Marcus invited me to meet up with him and a group of friends in another area of the park known as Twin Tanks. Meeting up with group of 15 guys was a big contrast from the peace and solitude I experienced the day before. Nonetheless it would be nice to join-in on a big group camp-out and it sounded like a good time. He told me to meet in the Twin Tanks back-country parking lot area at 12noon so I headed in that direction.
Driving to an area of the park I had not visited before was fascinating. The famous Joshua Trees began to dwindle, there were less rock formations and the terrain flattened. I reached the parking lot with time to spare for a “snap nap” of about 10-15 minutes. Ate a snack, re-pack my gear, then be at the ready for the group to arrive. I didn’t know what to expect with such a large group of guys. I packed as I usually would with plenty of food and water for myself and extra left to share. This turned out to not be necessary.
The guys showed up a bit later, gathered their gear and we were on our way. They pretty much said, “You see those rocks over there, yeah that’s us.” It was an easy 20-30 walk of about a mile from the parking lot heading direct west to the right of the “Twin Tanks.” The terrain was easy to cross although as we got closer to the rocks there was some boulder hopping involved. Which can be hard to do with a full pack on, luckily trekking poles came in handy.
The group spread themselves out among the many rock formations in the with a central spot to hangout. My cousin lead me up to area he choose which was a bit past the group in a great isolated spot. Tent pitched and gear unpacked it was time to kick back and explore the area.
We spent most of the day relaxing and visiting. Enjoying the surrounding scenery and some drinks. Marcus and his buddies played some tunes. The weather was great with a slight breeze and it was bit warmer than the day prior. I only took out my iPhone to grab picks of the surrounding area. Once night fell someone in the group made shepherd’s pie which was delicious. We stayed up late taking in the starry clear skies, sitting by the fire.
Getting to bed late was not too bad since there was not much activity that day, it ended up being a good night’s rest. The next day we packed it all up and headed out. We were the last guys out after sleeping in till the ripe hour of 7am.
I took the long road home after departing from Twin Tanks. Heading towards the southern entrance of the park at Cottonwood. The park drops a lot in elevation along the way and the surrounding desert transitions. I had never been to this area of the park and wanted to scope it out for future trips.
In conclusion this was a great weekend in Joshua Tree. I wish I was not getting over a cold or I would have been a bit more adventurous in my planning. I also brought a bit more food than I needed, I had enough for a whole other day in the park. Tempted to stay another day, there was plenty more to explore. I missed my wife and son, I wanted to get home to see them and spend the afternoon at home before another week of work.
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