Joshua Tree – a backcountry camping night

A trip in 2005 to a backcountry campsite was a wonderful experience.  We drove up late one night in October, so the air was still warm but not oppressively hot.  We arrived late and did not want to pay for a campsite, so we did the whole “hike 1 mile from the road” and camp thing.

I remember Griffin strapping all the bedding to his back with a rope (no, we did not think to bring a backpack – these were the truly amateur days).  We each had a headlamp. I recall getting an odd sensation before putting my foot down to take that next step… I looked down with my light and there was a tarantula there, with its hind legs raised in protest, as if to ask that I please not step there.  I gingerly side-stepped.  Later we encountered a scorpion, but he meant us no harm.

The night was beautiful and full of stars.

The only stupid thing? We slept on the ground, not in the tent, just on the ground, on a thin mattress.  For those who do not know, this is a terrible idea because snakes, scorpions, and all other creepy crawlies can cozy up to you in your bed, or even get into your sleeping bag while you snore the night away.

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