Joshua Tree 2011 Print

Following on the success of last year's father/son camping trip, Duane reserved a larger group camp site this year and the group included some ladies--Jennifer, Nicole Ammons (Scott's wife--they're next door neighbors to Jennifer & Duane), and Brooklyn--as well as their dogs, Finn and Gabby.  I joined them again so there would be a token old goat and a photographer. 

Note:  The photos embedded in this narrative are all iPhone captures, edited in Snapseed and in some cases with other apps used for polarization and so forth.  The real photos are in the SIG slide show at the end of this story.

With Jennifer & Duane's van full of gear, plus Christopher and Brooklyn, and Finn the Magnificent, I drove Sue's car to haul the rest of our gear, and Gabby the Wonder Dog rode with me.


We arrived late in the afternoon and set up camp, pitching tents and erecting the canopy that would serve as the mess tent.  The site had a great grill with a good charcoal bed close to the grill so we were able to grill easily for several meals, and there were several concrete picnic tables around the gril area.  Plenty of room for the children to eat, as well as the adults, and to store bins of gear and food.  Adrian and his boys were already there and ready for action. 

Rock climbing was one of the main purposes of the trip so Duane set a rope Friday morning for the first climbs.  Everyone (except moi) participated in the rock climbing, and Jennifer was particularly pleased to reach the top on her first climb.


Scott and Nicole arrived Friday with their son Henry and Scott brought another canopy, which we set up next to Duane's.  Eric and his son Cameron also arrived on Friday.  Our friend and fellow Space Cowboy John Bohner also arrived on Friday.

Scott and Duane set up two more ropes for climbing and they got a workout right away.  Numerous climbs took place on all three ropes and I spent time taking photographs with both cameras and a variety of lenses.  The dogs had a wonderful time investigating the area, lusting after the ground squirrels, watching after Christopher and Brooklyn, and just being dogs.  Finn was especially pleased.


Duane and I set up star trails shoots that night and I was really pleased with mine.  (You'll see them in the SIG slide show.)

The next day brought more climbing and fun, until the boys decided to play with a beer bottle and broke it, at which point Christopher cut himself pretty badly.  Scott took him back to camp to patch him up--not a stitches cut, fortunately--and he came back to watch others in action.


He decided that it wasn't going to get him down, and went on another climb that afternoon, and several more on Saturday and Sunday.

That evening, after dinner and after the children had gone to bed, we had a visitor in camp.


It was a lot more scared of us than we were of it and after we took some iPhone captures, we let it be.  There were clouds that night so Duane and I didn't bother setting up star trails shoots.  Good thing, as it turned out, because it started raining about 3:00 a.m.  After some frantic activity putting up the rain fly on our tent (Duane had already put the fly on Christopher and Brooklyn's tent) we went back to bed, a little damp but none the worse for wear.

Saturday was more climbs, more fun, and another series of star trails shoots that night, which unfortunately didn't work out very well--too many clouds going by.  We enjoyed dinner in town Saturday night at the 29 Palms Inn Restaurant anyway, and fell into bed exhausted.

Sunday morning was a gorgeous day.


Everyone (except me, of course) went on more climbs, and Jennifer again reached the top.


We broke camp around noon and packed up, stopping at the Subway in Joshua Tree for lunch.  We put Gabby in the van with Finn and Jennifer rode home with me so we could drive in the car pool lanes.  After a safe arrival Sunday at about 5:00 I bad farewell and came home for a much needed, and really enjoyable shower, and dinner with Sue.

Great fun.  Photos are below.  Something tells me we'll be back next year about this time...