Bouldering in Joshua Tree

My week usually consist of juggling busy work days between Eric and I with one car, taking care of our dogs, and all that domestic stuff. Plus, our side projects like this blog, Eric’s photography, and all the other active things we do. It feels like life moves pretty fast here in LA, like I never have enough time in a day. By the time I get a day off I’m in desperate need of one, and there is nothing I love better than getting out of town and escaping the hustle.

Last week for my days off I decided I really needed to just get out of the city and camp for the night. It’s been a while since we did an overnight trip and I could really use a night under the stars. We decided over coffee where we wanted to go and immediately got to work on a dog sitter and started packing. The stars magically aligned and we were off to Joshua tree by noon! Sometimes, things just work out perfectly like it was meant to be!

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We loaded up our climbing shoes and camping equipment and hit the road. Joshua Tree is only about an hour and half away from LA if the traffic is decent. We made good time getting out there, picked up a rental bouldering mat at Joshua Tree Outfitters, and checked into the visitors center. We were told at the visitors center that unfortunately all the campsites in the park were booked up. It wasn’t anything new for us, except this time we didn’t have a cool van to just pull over and sleep in. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s no matter what we are always going to be ok. I’ve learned not to stress out. I often prefer not to worry about all the details and just kinda go with the flow of the trip. I’ve learned that it creates less stress and you also have the best adventures that way.

So we just drove straight to the boulders! We didn’t get a guide book of the bouldering in Joshua Tree so we just went to the Happy Valley picnic area where we had been before. The bouldering there is pretty awesome. The plan was to go boulder til the sun went down and then worry about a place to camp. If we couldn’t find anything then we would go hiking into the desert a mile or two and camp for the night.

As soon as we got there Eric spotted a couple of people holding a guide book. We asked them if we could take a look since we didn’t have one. We got to talking and bouldering. Alec is a professor of religious studies at a University in Halifax, Canada along with his 15 year old daughter, Eileen. They were camping in Joshua Tree for a couple weeks while Alec did research for a book on Vietnamese Zen Buddhism in the United States. They chose to camp for the 2 weeks they were here instead of staying in a hotel so they could climb. We mentioned that we didn’t have a place to stay for the night because all the campsites were booked. Alec was so kind and offered us to stay with them at their campsite. We completely lucked out!

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Alec giving Eric a spot. Since there are no ropes or harnesses involved in Bouldering, we rely on a crash pad and the help of other people to keep you safe if you fall.

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Climbing in Jtree is SO much fun! It’s also very humbling. It’s nothing like the rocks in LA or the gym. It’s some of the hardest bouldering in the country there. Even though the rocks were hard to climb it was nothing short of an amazing experience.

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When the sun went down we went back to their campsite where they had already been staying a week and still had another week to go. We were all so worn out from climbing! The boulders in Jtree are not very forgiving, we were scraped, bruised, and bloody, but it was worth it!

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Eric got to work setting up the tent while I made us dinner then we sat around the firelight and talked about Canadian and US life, politics, religion and things. I really enjoy talking to people from other parts of the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a LA bubble and I love hearing how things are and how people live in other countries.

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We woke up early the next morning and packed up, said goodbye to Alec and Eileen as they set out to continue his research. Eric and I did some more hiking and bouldering in Jtree before getting back on the road home to LA.

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A few days after our trip out to Joshua Tree, Alec and Eileen came to LA and we got a chance to meet up with them before they flew back home to Canada. We took them to our favorite bouldering gym, Hollywood Boulders. From what they told us their bouldering gym is much smaller in Halifax. After the gym we all went to our favorite spot in LA for a beer, Franklin and Co.

Our trip to Joshua Tree turned out to be so much more than we had expected. Not only did we have an amazing time bouldering, but we also made two new friends! Alec and Eileen (if you’re reading this) it was so nice to meet you! Stay in touch and we can’t wait til you come back down to Cali!

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Xoxo

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