Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anniversary Trip Day 4

Our first anniversary! July 27, 2014
Letterboxing, Joshua Tree national park, and home.

Our alarm went off way too early this morning. The first thing I said: "Boxing!" …then, "oh, happy anniversary." ;) But seriously, where we were headed this morning was a letterboxer's dream! A quiet, isolated park that the park rangers really didn't know anything about, with several series of boxes all within feet of each other! Not only that, but all the carves were excellent and the clues were well written. All this makes for a perfect day for a letterboxer. :) 

The only thing we were concerned about was time. We knew there probably wasn't any way we could get all the boxes - we still had to drive 6 hours home that afternoon AND enjoy some of Joshua Tree national park. We were also worried about it getting too hot to enjoy being outside, just like it had been the day before. We hoped getting up early could give us a head start. However, as soon as we stepped outside, we knew today would be different - it was overcast, and the temperature was SIGNIFICANTLY lower! It was an immediate flashback to our wedding day and the perfect weather God had given us. And it lasted all morning! God is so good! :)

We headed out to the park and got started boxing. It doesn't matter what the situation is, boxing always takes longer than what it feels like, so we agreed that since there were so many boxes out here that we wouldn't spend so much time looking for ones that either didn't make sense to us, or ones that appeared to be missing. There was no way to tell for sure if they were gone or not, we just wouldn't stress to much for difficult boxes. Now we wish we could have been more thorough, but oh well - another day maybe! 

Panoramas of the area we were in. It was quiet and beautiful out here, with perfect weather to enjoy everything!

We were very happy with the boxes that we did find. A wide variety of carvers had obviously put in lots of time to create beautiful, detailed, and even funny stamps. We've almost exhausted our list of boxes left within a 50 mile radius of home, so to be in an area with so many boxes to find was so much fun. It might have been a taste of what it'd be like to live out East where there are thousands instead of hundreds of boxes - I imagine there are so many you just trip over them out there. Well, that's kind of what this was like. I finally made it over 700 finds this weekend - that alone was an awesome anniversary gift. ;)

We've been married for a whole year!! :) Also, I'm comparing wedding pictures to this one, and I'm thrilled with how tan we've gotten (naturally!) over the past year. :)

As I said before, boxing always takes longer than how it feels, and we were out there for about 4 hours! It was so worth it though. We went to Joshua Tree National Park after this and did a short driving tour, a little walking, and lots of picture taking. :)

Southern California is in the Mohave desert, as opposed to the Sonoran desert in Arizona. While we have the saguaro cactus, they have the joshua tree. The main difference between the two is that the Mohave desert is at a higher elevation than the Sonoran.

Here we are driving through the national park. The roads are all paved and there are several different roads and trails to explore. There is one that goes all the way through to the I-10, however it was under construction at this time and we were advised not to take it. Instead, we entered at the Joshua Tree, CA entrance and came out in Twentynine Palms, CA.

Just as Saguaros are all different, so are Joshua trees. The shorter, the taller, the wider, the narrower, the ones with many branches, the ones with hardly any, and some even seem to have a wacky personality! Driving through the park, we saw a huge variety of different Joshua trees. :)

We drove to Key View, which has an excellent view of the valley to the South of the park. It was obviously still overcast and foggy, and I loved the view of the mountains peaking over the top. This is the same mountain range that we were admiring before in Desert Hot Springs. I would love to do a hike like this that takes you through heavy clouds, but you can't really plan for something like this. :)

Panorama of the great view at Key View! We enjoyed the spot, however there were way too many visitors for our liking. ;)

Us, blocking the great view. :) At this point it was actually starting to heat up. It was also after noon, and while we would have loved to have more time to hike and explore, we were hungry and aware that we had a long drive ahead of us. Maybe someday we'll come back…not in the summer. :)

Driving back out of the park to Twentynine Palms. Here's more pictures of the variety of trees!

After exiting, we stopped at a small and delicious barbecue restaurant in Twentynine Palms before beginning the long drive home. We're happy to report there were no more car troubles for the remainder of this trip!

We took highway 62 East and 177 South to get to I-10, and we're pretty sure that this road is avoided by most. It was actually a pleasant drive, it rained a little, but it was a scenic road that took us around different mountain ranges. One of the funnier things we saw as we were driving was a camper pulled over on the side of the road and several people outside of it, eating lunch around a decorated card table, tablecloth and all. It was rather amusing! We were able to grab a few more boxes on the drive back, and saw a great lightening show as we approached home. We're thankful for such a great trip celebrating a wonderful year together. Here's to many more adventures. :)

End day 4: Drove 450 miles, hiked about 1-2 miles, found 36 letterboxes

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