#TravelBackThursday Joshua Tree National Park

Welcome back to our #travelbackthursday series!

Today we’re going to relive our trip to Joshua Tree National Park. We visited this desolate, hauntingly beautiful region in 2014, during my veterinary internship.

As part of my internship, I traveled with my mentors out to Thermal, California for the HITS horse show series as the official veterinarians. Jordan stayed back in Lexington, Kentucky, with our pets, holding down the fort. I was gone from January until March, and while the time in California was amazing, I did miss my fiance and my dogs.

Vet vehicle packed to the gills for the drive.
Vet vehicle packed to the gills for the drive.

I made some amazing friends on my trip to California. One of the technicians from Hagyard rode with me as I drove my vet vehicle across country, and we had just enough time to stop at the Grand Canyon along the way (one of four times I have visited the Canyon).

Jordan and I were living on an intern’s budget that year, so we didn’t have a lot of extra disposable income to pay for Jordan to fly out to California to visit me. Fortunately, he was able to seize on an opportunity to go to a veterinary conference for continuing education in Las Vegas, Nevada, in February. From there he rented a car and drove to visit me for a weekend in Thermal.

Happy to be reunited!

During his visit we were fortunate enough for me to have the weekend free for us to take a mini trip. We drove out to Joshua Tree National Park, just about a 40 minute drive.

The arid desert landscape was beautiful in it’s own way, and during the day the weather was a gorgeous 70 to 80 degrees. It did however get chilly at night.

We drove in through the south entrance near the Cottonwood Visitor Center, and then made our way north. We didn’t really have a plan, but stumbled upon a moderate hike at Ryan Mountain. We ended up pulling over in a small parking area, and spending the better part of the afternoon making the hike up the second highest peak in Joshua Tree.

We made it to the summit, 5458 feet!
View from the top of Ryan Mountain

We made our winding way out of the park in the late afternoon, and then headed back to Palm Springs. For the evening we headed to one of the most touristy spots in Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

While a little cheesy, we had an exciting ride up the mountain, and the views were gorgeous at night. We ate dinner at the Peaks Restaurant at the top of the mountain, with lovely views of the valley below.

It was quite chilly at the top of the mountain in February, but we enjoyed ourselves. We spent the rest of the weekend together and then Jordan headed back to Kentucky, and I finished out my last month in California before coming home. We were just thrilled that we got to see each other and add another National Park to our list!

We’ll revisit our other travels on our next #travelbackthursday installment. See you then!

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