Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park!

At the beginning of this year, Frido and I set a goal to travel more and put more pins on our Inspirational Investment Map. And this past weekend trip to Joshua Tree was the first of many near and far trips that are coming up in 2016. Frido and I have camped in Joshua Tree National Park before but this was our first time visiting there with our girls. We were pleasantly surprised that February was a perfect time to visit California desert since the temperature both day and night was so mild! 

Even on a very popular hiking trail, we often found ourselves alone in the vast space... listening to wind. It blows my mind that we could witness such an incredible landscape and be surrounded by nature that is so much bigger than us... only 2 hours drive away from Los Angeles. Satchi was crazy interested in how these rocks have formed such interesting shapes and sizes... and where they have come from. So during our car ride in the park... our conversation evolved around rocks, mountains, magma, volcano... I love that they are simply curious. 

Here are some of our favorite moments from our visit to Joshua Tree. We were staying in the area for 3 days total and did little bits and pieces of outdoor activities each day. I thought it might be helpful if you have similar aged kids (2.5 and 5.5 years old) and are looking for fun things to do in Joshua Tree!  

1. Just pull in a less crowded parking lot and start climbing rocks! 
This was probably what Satchi wanted to do the most! Coco too climbed on bunch of big boulders that were everywhere in the park. It was like a play structure made by nature. They loved looking into the space underneath the rocks... finding all kinds of little caves and seeing if there were anything hiding. We also enjoyed watching rock climbers going up! It was like a vertical people watching.

2. A short hike to Arch Rock 
This was a relatively short hike but a really fun one since we got to climb on big rocks to get to the "arch". The view of valley from the Arch Rock was breath taking and we were so lucky that we had very quiet moments on the rock to take everything in. 

3. A mile hike in Hidden Valley 
A really accessible loop that goes through a beautiful valley made of rock piles. We enjoyed reading information boards to learn more about the environment as we hiked through the trail. Satchi had no problem hiking a mile. Frido and I picked up Coco here and there but she hiked a big chunk of the trail on her own (hooray for our back!) It was fun to watch Coco pretending to look up a map to locate every desert plant she found interesting. "Here is this plant on the map because it has green color and spiky". I am thrilled that she is just as nature loving as Satchi;) 

We also drove to Cholla Cactus Garden and stopped by a visitor center to stamp on our Traveler's Notebook. (it's a must, right?) We did receive a Jr. Ranger workbook at visitor center and learned a lot from reading the booklet. They told us if a child completes the activities on the booklet, they will give a special badge. We suggested Satchi if she would like to tackle some of the activities but she was more interested in exploring the park in her own pace instead of following instructions on the booklet. Well... the journey is always the destination not just earning the badge for the sake of earning it, right?   I also heard star gazing is amazing in the Park... if your kids can stay up later than 7pm (which was our girls' bedtime during the trip... totally exhausted and happy from the day's adventure.)

Cheers to adventure in a big nature! 



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