Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Full-up Park

Joshua Tree, CA #6

We were happy to see horses in camp today. The nearby horse camp, vacant all week, suddenly sprouted, over night, horse trailers, horses, and horse people hanging out talking 'bout the trail. They were from Auburn and Placerville, CA, where I grew up. They reported there has been lots of rain there this winter so the trails are all muddy, and they'd decided the desert would be a good place to leave the mud behind. When I asked if they'd had enough rain to be considered out of the drought, they replied strongly with a no.

The other thing that arrived this weekend, in mass, were people. Every rock had a climber. Trail head parking lots were overflowing with cars. Picnic tables were enticing with huge spreads of food and drink. All campgrounds were full to the brim. The roads were jammed! It's been quiet all week, but along with Friday, the people poured in. Joshua Tree exploded! Pleasingly, it's been a polite explosion. No loud, rowdy camp parties. Litter has not increased beyond "normal". Trail manners are being respected. Even the pit toilets, although a little ripe-smelling from heavy use, have remained clean and tidy. I wonder if the rangers would say the same. I do know this guy was bewildered to see horses on the Barker Dam Trail this morning.

As we sat in camp, enjoying our view of the climbers, a man pulled up, lowered his window, and asked if we'd mind sharing our camp. He said, with a touch of panic in his voice, "I just flew from Alaska to camp for a few days, and all the spaces are full." We shuffled Thistle to make more room for his car, and invited him to share our dinner and campfire. Larry, a retired man from Palmer, Alaska, was here to hike, loving outdoor adventure, while his wife prefers staying at home to quilt.

Interestingly enough, we shared a Thistle-made smoothie with another man, Pat, from Montana, a few mornings earlier. At 80, Pat is still an enthusiastic hiker and is avidly pursuing the Joshua Tree trails. He too, like Larry, is traveling alone because his wife prefers staying at home to quilt.

I'm glad both Ed and I have similar tastes, it's easier. I'm also tickled to hear about couples who have creatively tackled differing tastes in ways that leave them both satisfied.

"How you brew your life is how it’s gonna taste on your tongue. You have the choice to make it bitter or sweeter. It all depend on the actions that you take day in day out."
- Israelmore Ayivor

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