9 Things to Know About Camping Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Tree Star Trail

Star trails over Black Rock Canyon Campground at Joshua Tree National Park near Yucca Valley.

There are several reasons that I travel to Joshua Tree National Park to experience nature. Following are some of my observations and what I consider practical things to know learned from my visits to JTNP.

1.  Joshua Tree National Park is easily accessible

from Interstate 10 Freeway in Southern California. It is where the Colorado Desert and Mojave Desert meet. The Mojave is considered high desert, 2,000 to 4,000 feet in elevation, and is cooler and milder than the Colorado, which is the Low Desert – think Palm Springs.

2.  It is a short (relatively) drive from home

(depending on time of day and day of the week). Traffic in Southern California is a nightmare during the daily commute.

3.  Joshua Tree National Park is the closest place to my home in Orange County with low light pollution in Southern California.

Light pollution is caused by urbanization and is the man-made alteration of light levels in the outdoors. Sky glow is one form of light pollution, which reduces dramatically the visibility of stars in the sky. Because of its close proximity to Yucca Valley, Black Rock Canyon Campground has lots of light pollution.

4.  It is an exceptional place to create interesting night photographs.

Blue hour in Joshua Tree National Park

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park

The bristly and twisted Joshua trees, a member of the yucca family, make great subjects for daytime photos, too.

5.  Cell service is available at Black Rock Campground – if you just can’t be without it.

6.  No cell service is available as you go deeper into the park.

Rangers patrol regularly, so if you happen to lock your keys in your vehicle, it won’t be too long before someone comes to your rescue.

7.  Make reservations ahead of your visit at Black Rock Canyon Campground and Indian Cove.

Black Rock Canyon is close to Yucca Valley. Indian Cove is near the Ranger Station at Indian Cove Road in Twentynine Palms. All other reservations are first come, first serve on all other campgrounds in the park.

8.  Some of the campgrounds close in the summer.

You can check ahead at the National Park Service website – www.nps.gov/jotr

9.  As you watch dawn break over the desert, you realize that it is worth getting up before sunrise.

Sunrise and Joshua Trees

Sunrise over the Joshua Tree National Park desert.

I have discovered that this is the reason I camp there overnight.

Please share your Joshua Tree National Park experiences in the Comments below.

View of Irvine Lake from Fremont Canyon Ridge

Irvine Lake from Fremont Canyon Nature Preserve

Fremont Canyon Nature Preserve

Fremont Canyon is often referred to as “the Yosemite of Orange County” due to its striking beauty and massive granite formations. It is rich in biological diversity and history. The area is also home to many rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy conducts frequent scheduled docent-led hikes and also lead mountain bike rides and equestrian rides enabling nature lovers to experience the canyon’s remote wonders. Registration for docent-led programs is required due to the area’s sensitive habitat, but all programs are free. (LetsGoOutside.com).

The docent-led hike I joined on a recent Saturday morning was informative and mildly challenging. We climbed to the top of the ridge on some continuously steep hills. Our pace included many stops to learn about the flora and fauna where we learned about animal scat and animal tracks. One hiker also made a cast of mountain lion foot prints that were embedded in the creek bed from recent rains.

This panorama image was captured with an iPhone 6Plus and edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Learn how to

unleash the power of your iPhone

this summer at Santiago Canyon College/Community Services with Julie Diebolt Price. Here is our schedule of classes.

Delightful Dahlias Worth the Visit

Delightful dahlias took our breath away when we attended the

Annual Dahlias Festival

Watch the video to see a sampling of the blooms on display. They are really remarkable.

Swan Island Dahlias sponsors the festival and are celebrating their 89th year. Canby, Oregon, the dahlia capital of America is located in Central Oregon. It is a one-hour drive south of Portland.

You can learn how to grow these gems at this annual event and place orders for tubers (strangely resembling sweet potatoes) that will be delivered in the spring next year. They teach where and when to plant, soil preparation and planting, staking, watering, fertilizer, digging, and winter storage. For more information you can visit the Swan Island Dahlias website at www.dahlias.com.

The flowers bloom in August and September, not in the spring like many other flower species. They are a hearty and long-lasting flower that should bring a lot of enjoyment.

Freesia at the Flower Stall in Downtown Portland

The Flower Stall in Downtown Portland

On a recent photography trip to Portland, Oregon, the freesia was in bloom along with many other locally grown gems. There are the regular weekly customers, as well as tourists to enjoy this flower stall 365 days a year and in all kinds of weather.

The magical florist was creating spellbinding floral creations for all to enjoy. You can visit their website here.

flower stall in Downtown Portland Oregon

Spellbound Flowers in Downtown Portland Oregon

Rose from the Rose City

A locally grown rose from the Rose Capital City

florist arranging flowers

The magical florist creating spellbinding flower creations

Customer smells fragrant freesia

Customer smells fragrant freesia

Happy Thanksgiving from JDP and plans!

Happy Thanksgiving from JDP!

As we make our way through Thanksgiving turkey, shopping, and family and friends, let’s just….fill in the blank.

I want to hear from you…tell me what you just want from this holiday.

I am adding vegan recipes to the menu for this holiday. I am sure to include exercise (hiking, resistance, weight, walking). I am planning my photo education and excursion in April 2015…making final decisions now.

What are your travel plans in 2015? Care to share?