Double Socks and Desert Rocks

October Great Story by Savannah Rose, 2017-18 Greater Los Angeles Climate Fellow

This month, the other Fellows and I embarked on a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Upon accepting Angela’s offer, I truly did not know what to expect. It’s pretty safe to say that I had little to no camping experience as the majority of my outdoor excursions consisted of turf soccer fields across Southern California. Hesitant at first, the mood suddenly changed as we met up in the BLM grounds late Friday night. We pitched our tent by the light of headlamps and a lantern. We made a fire and shared stories of our experiences from the first month. As I looked up, stars expanded across the sky. We took it all in, talking into the early hours of the morning while trying to solve the different mind teasers Sam had given us. Chloe, Annabel, and Sam decided to sleep beneath the stars since the weather permitted it.

The next morning I woke up to the crisp desert air and the lack of feeling in my feet. Apparently, the others experienced difficulty falling asleep with the nightly low temperatures of the desert climate. We ate a quick breakfast and headed to the store to pick up supplies for the day. Fearing I might pass out from the high temperatures of the desert sun, I picked up many gallons of water (many of which I would not need). We headed to the park and quickly noticed the vast amount of Joshua trees that expanded across the horizon. Angela was our guide as this would be her sixth time visiting the park. We began to explore by climbing on the large rocks and taking in the sights. After a hike and watching the sunset at Jumbo Rocks, we headed back to the BLM grounds to make dinner. We prepared quesadillas in a very resourceful way using foil to roast vegetables and apples. We picked up a lucky stick from the floor and made s’mores. We went to bed with full bellies and a full tent.

Sunday morning, we made oatmeal and headed to the park one last time. We said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways, splitting back into our carpools. As we headed back into LA’s urbanized area, I reflected on my first “real” experience camping. I established three main takeaways from this journey. First, I definitely should have listened to the other Fellows when they said I would be good on a couple gallons of water. Second, double socks were essential to sleeping in the desert at night. And lastly, good company plus the outdoors equals meaningful memories. This camping trip reminded me that these are the moments to live for.