How to Survive a Camping Trip in Joshua Tree in the Winter

I took advantage of the long weekend around President’s day to get out in nature. A friend invited me to join his ministry called F5 Challenge on a camping trip to Joshua Tree. It’s has been awhile since I have gone camping. I really miss the days of our annual pilgrimage to Redwood Campmeeting every summer. I don’t remember the last time I slept in a tent it was probably in Texas.

F5 keep us busy. We had a refreshing worship service under the stars on Friday night. Then there was a space to meet new people around the fire pits. There were people from all different walks of life. Sabbath morning, we had more worship sessions. Of course, there was a big haystack potluck for lunch.

After lunch, we went for what was supposed to be a Sabbath walk stimulating gentle blood circulation and fun fellowship. However, it ended up being a scramble over large boulders of various sizes. It even caught the leaders by surprise as it was not at all what they had in mind for the restful afternoon. Despite the initial dismay at the strenuous hike, we saw a beautiful slot canyon in the middle (picture below) and a view of the valley at the top. We also made some friendships that won’t have been formed by an average Sabbath walk. All things work together for good in the end.

Sabbath evening found us worshiping together one more time. Then, we got into a load of fun team building activities. Every one of them a new challenge. My favorite was the Hot Lava Challenge.

A team of three had to cross a dusty area without touching the ground. We had three folding chairs. By hopping from chair to chair and shuffling the chairs one ahead of another we navigated the dusty expanse. The person at the end passed the last chair to the person in the front. The person in the middle balanced them while keeping her weigh on the edge of the folding chairs as the two others focused on the movement. If all the weight went to the back of the chairs, everything would collapse. Throwing a member or even the whole team into the dust below.
I really love the networking aspect of the F5 trip. I met so many new people. Some were part of the GYC E-Com. New friends from Puerto Rico. Alumni from Antillean. Even the camp security guard who believes in Christians, but not Christianity. There was a former professor from Ouachita Hills. I strengthen bonds with people I’d already meet at Advent Hope.
I really enjoyed branching out with a couple of friends to explore the rest of the national park on our own. Joshua Trees actually have bark. I didn’t know that. The oases in the park down actually have water. What a bummer… We also learn some park pass hacks, but that will be our little secret.
Here are three other things I learned about camping in Joshua Tree from this trip.

Wear Sunscreen

Believe me I never wear sunscreen. Neither do I burn. Well, I burned on this trip. Especially my nose. It didn’t hurt, but I am peeling until now. I am not sure what I should do about that next time. I heard shea butter is a great alternative to sunscreen. Do you know of any natural alternatives? Please inform me. I am all about that natural life.

Amass warmth

You might be under that impression that the desert is always hot. Not in the winter it isn’t. At night it gets really cold. If the wind starts to blow, it gets really cold. Fortunately, I was prepared. I remember how my mom would bring a sleeping bag, a little egg shell and a thick blanket. Each element has its purpose for keeping one warm. So, I brought my elements and slept all warm and toasty.
I was pretty good when it came to clothing. If I where to do things over, I would have brought a wind breaker and hiking boots. Alas, my bank account didn’t permit… Other than that, layers were the next best and most effective option. Oh, wear a hat! There’s no if, buts or maybes.

Have a Tribe

It’s always good to have great people around you. I didn’t have to travel to Joshua Tree alone. I had three great guys to hangout with. I even cooked them dinner. There’s nothing like adding all your ramens to one pot. I spent Sabbath with three great girls. There’s nothing like having someone to help you up massive boulders in the wilderness.

What adventures did you have this President’s Day?

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