More Joshua Tree

Wednesday was sort of frustrating for me. I had left a couple of things unsettled, workwise, and once I ascertained that there was no - no - cell phone access from within the park, I knew I’d have to drive out until I got a signal.
Once I got my phone message, it turned out I needed to go online to fix something for a client who urgently needed it, so I headed down to the town of Joshua Tree and settled at the Beatnik Cafe to guiltily buy a double espresso and connect my laptop to their dsl line. I fixed that client, made sure everyone else was fire-banked, recorded a “gone fishin’” message on my cell phone, turned it resolutely off for the duration and headed back to camp.
I got back in time to take a long walk in the desert, and seeing the sunset soothed my sense of having wasted a valuable few hours. (As always, click to enlarge.)
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The next day, our son was determined to find at least one climbing route that both Mrs. Perils and I could essay. We ended up on this one, called The Bong, I think because it requires possessing (or developing in an awful damn hurry) crack climbing techniques. Well, to my great surprise, I smoked it! Well, that’s a bit of overstatement. More than a bit. I carefully picked my way up while, as you can see, my son kept me very tightly roped. So tightly roped that, if I’d fallen off the rock, I’d have actually ascended rather than descended. After I was done, he walked up the route and collected the gear without any rope support. Still, it was my first completion of an outdoor route. I rock!
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After a day’s climbing and hiking around, we head back to camp. The moon was tending towards full, and just rising as we neared camp.
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One of our delights was clambering up the rocks behind our camp to a place about 60 feet above our site that they called the “porch”, in order to watch the sunset in the west…
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…and the moonrise in the east.
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After the sun goes down, the temperature plummets quickly to somewhere near 35F. While our meals were cooked on a propane camp stove, a campfire makes it possible to linger for a while before rolling into the tent. There’s no source of wood in the park, but someone had bought some firewood on their last trip to town. In order to start a fire, however, you need a certain amount of kindling. None of us had any wood-splitting tools with us (I could just see TSA’s reaction to the Xray image of a hatchet and array of wedges in our luggage), so we riffed through our rental cars and found some barely adequate hardware with which to flay a block of wood that was reluctant to part with any useable splinters.
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Dinner was a delightful Thai dish prepared by J, one of our son’s camp acquaintances. J lives…pretty much wherever she is. She doesn’t have a car, own or rent a house or apartment or, apparently possess anything that can’t be packed up in her backpack and carted off to her next adventure. She earns money periodically by leading Outward Bound expeditions. This lifestyle has made her into a fantastic camp cook. Our Thai dinner consisted of Asian noodles, vegetables and sauteed ginger, garlic, and other mysterious spices that she seemed to have in abundance in sealed plastic bundles.
Her piece de resistance each night, however, was/were the desserts she prepared in a cast-iron Dutch oven. Here she’s preparing one of these delights. Once assembled, the Dutch oven is placed in the campfire amongst the coals, there to incubate until its essences can no longer be contained under the lid, and the aroma of chocolate-banana-oat-cranberry concoction overwhelmed us and we greedily fell to it.
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One Comment

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