Archives for posts with tag: Outdoors

Image from iOS (10)

The advantage of living in southern California is that a weekend escape feels like somewhere completely different. From San Diego, I could be in the mountains to the East, in Mexico’s buzzy Valle de Guadalupe sipping on wine, or eating my way through Los Angeles to the North in a few hours more or less.

At Joshua Tree National Park, two hours from Los Angeles or San Diego by car, desert vibes are in reach too.

To get there, head East on I-8 toward Palm Springs and take CA-62 toward the high desert.

There are several entrances to the park, which requires an entrance pass for purchase at any of the visitor centers.

Accommodations vary, from your standard Holiday Inn, to camping in the park and a spectrum of basic to desert chic Airbnbs. We stayed two nights in a charming red casita (an Airbnb – rent it here) near one of the park’s three entrances, meaning we were conveniently located less than 20 minutes from the park.

We traveled to Joshua Tree in June, or the beginning of the area’s off-season. Though, with an estimated 3 million visitors predicted for the area this year, Joshua Tree is on track to becoming a year-round destination–despite the heat that hammers down on you by 9am.

Due to rising summer temps, the park ranger at the visitor center counseled against the four-mile hike I bookmarked. Instead, he recommended a number of shorter nature walks to complete before the afternoon became too brutal. Had we visited in the fall or winter, I’d be inclined to book at least three nights in Joshua Tree to complete longer hikes, or to even camp one night (max, because I’m high maintenance like that) in the park.

Below are some photos from the weekend:

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(Cholla Cactus Garden, late afternoon)

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(Part of our Airbnb in Joshua Tree)

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(Sunrise breakfast at our Airbnb in Joshua Tree)

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(Corned beef and hash brunch at Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree)


#Triumphant after reaching South Fortuna Summit

San Diego, much like my other favorite cities (Denver, D.C.) is an outdoor mecca. My home base in particular plays host to boundless recreational opportunities from the shore, to the desert and peaks.

Speaking of peaks, thanks to Mission Trails Regional Park’s Five Peak Challenge I’m on track to complete two more of the five needed to round out the challenge. In the process, I’m discovering views of San Diego I haven’t seen yet and reorganizing my list of favorite trails.

So far, I’ve completed Cowles from the Big Rock Trail on one day, and South and North Fortuna summits on another. I’ll wait till I complete the challenge to share with you how I’ve ranked the park’s trails, so for now here’s a photo from the top of the South Fortuna Summit.

This was attempt number two; we ended up on a completely different trail the first go around and ran out of sunlight and energy to hit South Fortuna properly by the time we found the trailhead (it was mere steps away from the Tierrasanta entrance, where we parked our cars!).

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Saturated Saturday is a new photo series highlighting some of my favorite images, with enhanced vibrant colors courtesy of the photo editing apps I like at the moment. These include: VSCO, Instagram, A Color Story. Most photos taken with iPhone 5C.

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