Joshua Tree National Park

This was the first park I went to after my original trip across the country. It was like nothing I've ever seen before and I must go back immediately. I took the train down to San Diego to visit with my family for Thanksgiving and my aunt was up for an adventure for the return trip so we detoured to see some Joshua Trees. After starting a new job and feeling weird and uncomfortable about all that, it was soooooo refreshing to be in such an exquisite landscape! I remember just frantically running around from rock to rock and lookout to lookout, overjoyed with where I was.

We started by pulling over to random turnouts, where mostly we would find loose napkins, bottle caps, and cigarette butts. However, as we moved to explore more of the rock formations we found tons of debris wedged down the skinny and deep cracks between the rocks. This was the moment when I told myself it was necessary to invest in one of those extendable claws. We were able to reach and retrieve a fair amount of mostly beer cans, but we unfortunately had to leave a lot of it behind.

When in the field, searching for the trash becomes a game so quickly. So much so that I become excited when I see pieces of garbage and disappointed when I cannot find any. Throughout these park trips I constantly have to check and remind myself WHY I am doing this! That the point IS for there to be no trash to find! DUH MARIAH! I think it is actually more of a realistic reflection and representation of the landscapes to have some large pieces (perhaps larger more popular parks) next to teeny tiny pieces (parks that are less known/ have fewer campsites). 

Funny anecdote: we went on a small loop hike and parked the car behind another in one of those long RV spaces. When we returned someone had boxed us in!!! The next half hour was spent roaming around the lot trying to find the culprits but apparently they were taking their sweet time on that trail and didn't find it necessary to hustle back at all... So instead we befriended some men drinking beer in the bed of their truck next to us. The spot between the two cars kitty corner to us was TIGHT but just large enough that we thought we might be able to angle the car and squeeze through. For probably another half hour we inched the car closer and closer, backing up and readjusting and trying again. By the end of the whole ordeal, half of the parking lot had gathered round us with bated breath, to witness if we would scrape the ish out of our/ their car or be set free! TG we were set free to a warm round of applause! WHAT a fantastically beautiful display of human decency and support PLUS the fact that it was in such a beautiful place made the whole experience even more beautiful. THANK YOU, JT.

 Trash found in JTNP

Trash found in JTNP