California / USA, April 2016
Long Weekend in Southern California
Exploring Joshua Tree and some gems around it
I always doubted if it worths to drive 8 hours from Oakland to Joshua Tree, until we actually did drive there. It was a long weekend and long weekend is like an olympics of traveling around for the middle class in California. So we made a plan, and joined the long-weekend olympics. As we already visited national parks around Oakland at least 4-5 times, this time we drove to South Of California; Joshua Tree.
It's a special place, and I wish I stayed longer there. We didn't take that much photos here because we felt like Joshua Tree is better to enjoy without focusing on taking photos. Nova was more actively exploring around meanwhile when I was sitting on rocks, laying under a tree, writing notes on my notebook...
Joshua Tree has no store, and it's far from closest towns. So make sure bringing your water and food. I made some delicious köfte (Turkish flat meatballs) for this trip and we cooked them in portable Korean BBQ grill. We also got some indonesian instant noodles (much better than the other ones) and prepared some salad to eat during our time in Joshua Tree.
Meanwhile I was looking for shadow to sleep and feel sleepy all the time, Nova was walking around, climbing, jumping...
In the night time, Nova shot some photos of the sky. Here is my favorite ones;
The next day, I woke up when Nova was driving in the middle of the freeway. It was almost 11am in the morning, and Nova woke up before sunrise, walked around, take photos when I was sleeping.
After Joshua Tree, we started driving to Salvation Mountain. The road is near a lot of farms and fields, and we always wanted to hangout with farmers in US. So we stopped when we saw a group of people picking tomatoes, and started picking tomatoes with them. The tomato-pickers were people originally from Mexico, they were very friendly, always smiling and making jokes...
Salvation Mountain is like an aritifical mountain painted nicely with a lot of colors. This part of California gets really hot and it's hard to find open businesses around. Until there, it was rare to see humans around us, but there was a lot of people when we get to the spot.
We drove to the San Bernardino mountain to check out Aztec Falls, after driving for hours under the sun burning our skin, and our dear comrade, Subaru Outback 2004. The temperature of the car got really high and we started seeing a smoke coming out of the engine. We made it to the Lake Arrowhead village and parked in mechanic's shop, watched a movie and went to sleep.
It was our final destination in this long-weekend trip. After the hard road, we started hiking and got the wrong trail as Google Maps didn't point us to correct direction. We figured out the correct route later and luckily getting a ride from an officer, we made it to the right trail without wasting a lot of time. Despite the pollution, Aztec Falls is wonderful. We loved swimming and jumping here. Definitely a must-see place.