Joshua Tree, CA.
I feel like everyone in my life has been there but I've always cast it to the side. Nevermind that it was one of my first loves' favorite place or that all my witchy friends love it or that all the hipsters in my life also love it. NAHHHHH I always thought I was too bourgeois/High Maintenance for the place. WHY would I go there? I'd rather spend the money and go to the Bay Area.
Well. When someone (heyyy Allison) decides to do all the planning (and the days happen to fall between her Splendid Mola writing + yoga retreat in Idyllwild and her 3 day meditation retreat at Vippassana) and you're already going to be in the area (shout out to my BFF Alexa's AMAZINGLY LUXE birthday plans at PGA West this year), you pack all your "Desert Looks" (Literally, ALL. You should have seen how packed the trunk of my car was -______-) and say YES to LIFE!
I left La Quinta to head to Joshua Tree early in the afternoon. The drive there was a little over an hour. Not bad. The scenery was cute. Your typical Desert Vibe with some windfarm windmill action. Cool. I drove into the main drag in Joshua Tree. Small town feel mixed with hipster and overpriced vintage shoppes. I'm an adventurous gal, so hey, lets do this!
I was hungry so we decided to meet up for lunch at Crossroads Cafe. I was actually excited to try it since during my very limited Joshua Tree internet research this was one of the main places that came up. Walked in, there were tons of folks with Tattoos and some people of color. and then there was Alli sitting at the bar waiting for me. Good. I had the Pioneer sandwich, a side of Mac n Cheese (which was delicious!!!!) and an IPA. Delish.
After our meal, we got into our cars and headed to our Homestead for the weekend. Ok, here's where it gets interesting. The place is about 10 minutes from the main street in Joshua Tree and is accessible via DIRT ROADS. It's like you live in the city for so long you don't remember what driving on a non-paved road is like until you're rocking & rolling. For the most part it was fine. I just had to literally slow my roll BUT IT WA ALL WORTH IT BECAUSE OMG the place was amazing!!! The name of our home away from home in Joshua Tree was Mojave Green. Mojave Green is owned and operated by Leafe and Katherine of Joshua Tree Vacations. Alli booked it on AirBnB and wow what a find.
We walk in and WOW. All the details. This place is decorated so perfect. I immediately walked around and Snapchatted the whole thing (because social media). The kitchen was so cute. The outdoor shower made from recycled bottles was amazing (don't worry, there's an indoor shower too!) and THE HOT TUB!!! Yes. the outdoor hot tub. I couldn't wait to get in it.
After exploring the homestead, I settled us in with some vodka tonics (extra lime!) and we changed into our swimsuits and got in the hot tub to watch the sunset. I felt so free since there wasn't any neighbors super close so I took this pic (hello can we talk about how we should all be able to be topless? I mean, it felt so freeing!!)
Day 2 was Joshua Tree National Park Day!!! We got up, made breakfast (well, Alli made breakfast because she's the best cook), got ready and headed out! I was determined to get the best Desert Witch outfit because I just KNEW the photo ops were going to be ABUNDANT. I was taking forever to get dressed, because if the photo ops are going to be abundant, you MUST look your best. I could tell Allison was getting annoyed because she had that "wrap it up and get it together!" look on her face -______- I think she may have lost it when she saw I was wearing boots and asked where my hiking shoes were. I said I forgot them (lol). I opted for Jeans (Forever 21), a black flowy top, a printed poncho, faux-leather short boots (Forever 21) and one of the hats available for use in our homestead. The best part, all my outfit (minus the jewelry + boots) were either thrifted or obtained at a clothing swap. YAY for recycled clothing!
We decided to stop to grab a bite (and I needed a strong cut of coffee) in town to take into the park with us for lunch. We stopped by Natural Sisters Cafe and I picked up a coffee, carrot ginger muffin and a warm curried rice wrap with avocado and sprouts which they packed up nicely in a perfect to-go container to take into the park. Alli got a few things as well including their famous vegan carrot cake which I will say was pretty delicious and tasted JUST LIKE it's non-vegan counterpart. While my food was being prepped, I walked into Grateful Desert Herb Shoppe & Eco Market they had some lovely incense, soap and natural body items in stock and also had an array of leather goods and some crystal stone jewelry. Definitely worth a peek in if you're in the area.
After we got our food, we headed into the park. It was just a short 10 min car ride into the main entrance. The fee to enter is $20 per car and you can get a yearly pass for $30, so for $10 more you can come back whenever you'd like in a year. That's a good deal. PLUS you'll be supporting our National Parks which is awesome as well. If you purchase the $20 per car pass, it's good for 7 days, so if you're in Joshua Tree for the weekend, you can go without having to pay multiple times for in/outs.
Once we were in the park I just couldn't believe my eyes. It's literally so gorgeous. The pictures below really don't do it justice. I had many moments while in the park where I would look over at Alli and say "How can people look at this and not believe in a Higher Power, Spirit, Universe, God...SOMETHING" (no shade to the Atheists) I just was so in AWE of NATURE and these beautiful CREATIONS.
Did you know that Stone Balancing (pictured above) is a thing? It's an actual meditative practice! Somehow it felt like a little hug knowing we found these stones this way and that someone who came before us felt compelled to create this and leave it up to share and meditate on. Sweet.
Overall, I would say that the park was gorgeous and full of amazing views. If you're a total city person who isn't open to your phone not having service and/or not seeing buildings, this is probably not the place for you to spend a day. Or maybe it is? Live a little!
Ok, so we leave the park and this is where things get a little dicey.
We get back to our Homestead just in time because there's a little rain coming down. Not too bad. We get there and within a few moments notice that there's no electricity. I low key start to panic because my brain starts filling up with all these ideas of how this is basically my worst nightmare. Allli tries to calm me down and succeeds for the most part. We had some food left to eat for dinner that didn't require the hot plate so we settled in and started playing some games that didn't require our phones/laptops. As the sun started setting, I started to get more and more apprehensive. I called Edison to see what the status was on the outage and they were giving an ETA of 7:30am THE NEXT MORNING. I couldn't. I was trying to be calm but now the charm of the place (not having super close neighbors, it being off a dirt road) was turning into a NIGHTMARE!!!! I had thoughts like "where is my xanax?". The light was fading and I started to panic. We played a few rounds of 20 questions and then decided it was time for bed. There's the 2 sliding glass doors that are across the bed that I JUST KNEW were going to be stormed in by a Texas Chainsaw Massacre person just waiting to KILL the Black and Brown women in the Homestead. I tried to chill but instead I created a PLAN and my plan included the empty glass kombucha bottle next to the bed. It included me breaking it and then slicing the intruder's leg and while he or she was down getting the potted cactus near the bed and smashing it on the head of the intruder. It was a good plan, que no?
Well, I finally got to bed and got a little sleep. Morning came and I was blessed to witness THIS
The lights finally came on around 8am. Our hosts were lovely enough to give us a bit of a late check out so we lounged a bit, made some breakfast and got our stuff together to part ways. My drive back was not too bad (made it back to LA within 2 hours).
Overall, I would say that I'm glad that Alli got me a bit out of my comfort zone and even though the no electricity thing was pretty anxiety inducing, I had a great time and was able to relax which was nice! Pro tip: don't put on tanning oil if you want to lay out because the flying ants will try and stick to you -______-.
Are you a total city person? Have you been to Joshua Tree? What was your experience?