Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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Rock Climbing At Joshua Tree National Park

What a weekend!  I’m. So. Sore.

This past Saturday, Mr. T  and I spent the day at Joshua Tree National Park.  It was the first time we’ve ever been there (or to any real National Park together, actually) so I didn’t know what to expect….but I did know it was popular for rock climbers so, of course, we signed up for a private rock climbing excursion.

Mind you, Mr. T’s never even tried indoor rock climbing and I’ve only done it twice before.  Both times, I freaked out at how high I felt I was when in reality, I’m sure I was only like 10 feet up.  I’m such a chicken!  I don’t even know why I thought it was a good idea when I signed up for it…


Amazingly enough, however, I was in really good spirits when it was tour time and didn’t even think much of it when I saw the first rock climb.  How wrong was I!  According to Mr. T, I was all of five feet off the ground when I started freaking out unsure where to put my feet and what hand holds were available (I’m tellin’ ya, it feels so much higher when I’m up there).  I had no idea how tiring this was either — my muscles just about gave out midway.  At times I even considered giving up, but I am so glad I pressed on because I eventually made it to the top of all five climbs we did!  Five climbs!  Each one was incrementally harder (and higher) than the last, too.  But it felt so good to get to the top and then enjoy the ride back down.

Just when I was relishing in my accomplishment, we had one more activity — a rappel down an approximately 80 foot barren slab wall.  I’ve rappelled down waterfalls before so I thought it’d be easy, but it’s always scary at the top when you have to take that first backward step off the mountain (not to mention just scary looking down and realizing how friggin’ high up you are!).  After a few minutes of prepping myself, I mustered up the guts and just did it.  And it wasn’t so bad.  Much like a lot of things in life that initially appear insurmountable — once you get the courage to just do it, it’s never as bad as you originally pictured it.

(A view from the top of the mountain right before the rappel down. If you look closely, you can see a wedding taking place down there. I wonder if we ended up in any of their wedding pictures?)

Now as I’m writing this, I’m so, so, so sore still, but I’m feeling super amazeballs that we challenged ourselves physically and mentally and conquered it!  Every now and then it’s good to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation (how else are you supposed to grow, right?) and Saturday reminded us of the importance of that.  I love moments like that!

If you’re up for a similar challenge, there are tons of companies at Joshua Tree that offer the tours.  Spring and fall are probably the best times to go since it gets really hot in the summer (it is a desert after all).

If you’re not feeling quite up the challenge, you should still visit Joshua Tree for the crazy landscape — the valley of Joshua Trees is unlike any I’ve ever seen and the piles of boulders that make up the mountains/hills are an incredible sight.  Here are some other random pictures from our day there:

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Raji - May 7, 2012 - 9:15 pm

Amazing pics. Saw your website through TBEX, great site!

Just Wanderlust - May 7, 2012 - 10:32 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Raji!

Tony Ingraham - May 8, 2012 - 7:47 am

Thanks for the great photos of this place. I’ve been interested in visiting Joshua Tree for a long time and your photos increase that probability! You might be interested in my blog about the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY at http://ithacafingerlakes.com.

Gladys | ByahengBarok.com - May 8, 2012 - 6:08 pm

i’ve never been rock climbing outside, though i did try to do indoor wallclimbing a few times when i was younger… haha! i doubt if i can do that again at my age. love the photo while you’re climbing. oh, is that you?

Just Wanderlust - May 8, 2012 - 10:04 pm

Hi Gladys- I’m not much of a rock climber indoor or outdoor but it was rewarding to try something new! Yes, that’s me in the pic!

Just Wanderlust - May 8, 2012 - 10:06 pm

Hi Tony! Joshua Tree was a lot more fun than I originally thought! You should definitely try to make it out if you can. Thanks for stopping by, too. I’ll check out your blog on that region. 🙂

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