The Wild Mile just got wilder. We took to the backcountry in the scorching heat of Joshua Tree National Park, to discover what we’re made of. It amazes me how quick an idea can turn into a reality. Just a few weeks ago, Paul and I were casually discussing backpacking and how cool it would be to broaden our horizons. We started window shopping, learning and finding things that could suit our needs. Fast forward to now, we’ve invested ourselves into this new, exciting feat.
We planned a trip with our friends to Joshua Tree National Park. Unfortunately due to time and obligations not everyone (including Paul) had the luxury to stay an extra night within the backcountry. So I found my Spirit of Adventure & took it upon myself to experience this kind of night life.
Things to Note:
Location: N34 06.789 W116 09.336
Distance: 2-hour drive southeast of Los Angeles.
Time: As long as you please.
Finding the right trailhead wasn’t easy, considering there’s approximately 13 backcountry trails for one to choose from within the park. So I decided to keep things simple, and venture near the Indian Cove Campground. I chose the Boy Scout Trail because of it’s location. It’s trailhead is near a ranger station, (although it’s closed during the Summer season) which has a reliable water source, and is in range to the Indian Cove Campground, or society in general, if assistance were needed.
Note: Registering for a backcountry permit is easy and free. All you need to do is park your vehicle at the designated trailhead, fill out an overnight permit, and drop it in the box provided.
I started my journey around 5:30PM. The sun was still up, yet things were cooling down. It gave me enough time to traverse at least a mile into the Boy Scout trail & find a good locale for the night. I carried 4 liters of water & a water bottle just incase, along with my sleeping gear, toiletries & food. Total amount weighed up to 40lbs. To my knowledge now, this is considered a little overweight for a one nights stay. But for it to be my first solo trip, I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Note: Primitive Camping in Joshua Tree National Park requires all backpackers to camp at least one mile from the trailhead & at least 500 feet from the trail itself.
It didn’t sit right with me to camp out in the open. I felt the need to have that rocky terrain around me. So after 40 minutes of hiking, I found exactly what I was looking for. The area consisted of that mountainous backdrop overlooking the desert.
I spent my night cooking, re-organizing my pack & shooting the stars. The loneliness hit me after awhile. But I kept myself occupied with the luxury I had with Mother Nature. I slept around 11PM. Woke up in the middle of the night to a pack of coyote’s howling in the distance. It’s eerie how the sounds they made resembled a pack of Hyenas. But I was so tired, I went right back to sleep.
Waking up around 6AM, I could feel the heat warming up my tent like an oven. Guess I made it through the night, right? Before I packed up, I boiled some water and had Mountain Houses Biscuits & Gravy. Wow! That was my first time having a dehydrated meal & certainly won’t be my last. It was more than enough and tasted just like the real thing… Mainly because, it is!
The big rock behind my tent served as a nice chair to chill on & counter for cooking.
I ecstatically made my way to the car. So excited of this feat, considering it was my first time ever backpacking and camping alone, I missed the Boy Scout Trail. Fortunately, I had my route mapped on my GPS. I spent a majority of my time off trail, just trekking towards the main trail through the barren desert.
Note: I use an app for the iPhone called Topo Maps+. This app has allowed me to accurately track and record my every movement on this trail, all without data!
To conclude my journey, it’s a great feeling to accomplish something I never thought I could do. People ask me why I did it. Quite frankly, I had something to prove, to myself. I had to prove that I am more than capable of being on my own. I had to prove that time alone is more of a luxury, as long as it’s productive. I’m very fortunate to have experienced this journey, for this is the stepping stone to many more adventures to come.
About the Author: Jared S.
An avid outdoorsman, always on the go. With a handful of hobbies, he collaborates them all through the wild. Follow me through my wildest miles.