During my 2011 Spring break, I spent the week visiting Joshua Tree National Park. During the time spent there we met all different kinds of interesting people. Our crew consisted of me, my friend Ryan, and two girls from my photography class. One of the girls was a foreign exchange student from Japan named Kazumi, the other was a foreign exchange student from Denmark name Juli. You can imagine it was an interesting dynamic.
The days consisted of climber’s coffee in the mornings followed by yoga for Juli, a long makeup ritual for Kazumi, usually going back to bed for Ryan, and sometimes the same for me! But as the day went on we all found our separate ways out into the dessert. Most of my time was spent climbing. The bouldering there is world class. Very interesting and powerful moves on almost every problem. The beauty of the climbing also inspired a couple class four and five free soloing missions.
By the time the trip had ended we had managed to lock the keys in the car four times! And while this caused the rangers to begin to know us by first name, it also caused some of the highlights from the trip. Along the way we met a few groups of people due to the key incidents. Among them was a group of college guys out there on a climbing trip for their spring break as well. They showed us a couple very cool, very classic climbs including this high ball at the entrance of Hidden Valley.
Towards the end of the trip I once again had to ask myself, “Why am I here?” Why did I choose to spend my spring break out in the middle of the desert, freezing my ass off at night, and not taking a shower for five days? At times I even began to start regretting not just going to the beach and raging my face off like a normal college kid. But in the end it all comes down to the experience for me. This trip provided more than just fun times. it added a sense of involvement in the ongoing learning process of life. During this week many times reminded me of how to work with people from different backgrounds and viewpoints. At other times I would be overwhelmed with the beauty and simplicity of nature, at times even feeling as if I could simply become a part of it all if I focused hard enough.
A combination of climbing, yoga, coffee, a lot of Top Ramen, a little bit of meditation, and a few phone calls to the ranger’s office and that was spring break. I am thankful for all the trips quirks, each sunset and sunrise, every time a coyote howled at the moon, every time I topped out a climb, every campfire and everyone who was there. Whenever I visit a national park, something inside me clicks and I know I am supposed to be there. These places are sacred and should be respected by all. Hope you get a chance to take your own trip soon!