We had another great trip back to Joshua Tree for some backpacking with my mom. She had seen the trip I had done recently with the Mikes and wanted do go do some desert hiking and camping, so we were back at it on the California Riding and Hiking Trail for a twenty miler. This was especially cool because my family had been out there for a while my Nana and great-grandparents used to live at the Gates of Spain Mobile Estates in Yucca Valley, so we spent a decent amount of time there growing up.
I left on Thursday after work and it was a nice three-hour drive from Ramona through the mountains and Palm Springs up to 29 Palms where we where staying. It was good to see mom and we went and got some dinner and crashed out. We got up Friday and began the process of getting gear together and stagging cars and water. It was a nice drive through the park, and we staged car one at the Juniper Flats backcountry kiosk then consolidated cars and gear to stage water at Juniper Flats Kiosk, we made good time up until we turned down the dirt road to Covington Flats.
It was dusty washboard roads in a rental, so we took our time driving and it gave mom a good idea of where we were going and what the area looked like. Not the end of the world time wise as we headed to Black Rock Canyon to stage the other car and step off. Time wise it would have been nice to have staged the water the day before or stat earlier, but it is what it is, we stepped off at noon. It was warm but not that bas with the hies being in the low 80’s.
Now I realize I could have communicated better since I told mom that the trail is mostly downhill, and it is but the first couple miles is uphill, and she was not too happy about that. I understand hitting an uphill the first thing is sometimes not a great way to start out. But we were in it to win it and made decent time to our first water drop at Covington Flats and took a nice break, glad we brought the chairs and glad we staged two gallons of water it was warm, and we were drinking. That was around the seven-mile mark and we wanted to get to ten and right before the canyon set up camp and do the canyon in the morning.
Mom did great and we made good time and stopped around six pm to set up camp and relax, it was funny because I had brought a ton of food but ended up eating some peanut M&Ms and drinking water, my appetite was like zero and mom was on the same plan. We got everything set up and relaxed then hit the rack under a great desert sky. In the morning we took our time and mom had some coffee and we packed up and redistributed some of the weight from her back to make it easier for her since this was her first backpacking trip in a while. The day prior I carried her back for a little bit to give her a break while keeping on schedule, so this was making life easier for everyone.
It was great heading up to the lip of the canyon and it actually was not as bad as I remembered it (we did the whole 37.5 miles in two days and it was a blur a month ago). We had our second day trail legs and day two was great moving through the wilderness area of Joshua Tree it is amazing how remote and cut off you are while still being able to see San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Peaks and the Salton Sea. Some of these areas are so amazing with the mixture of Juniper, Pine and Joshua Tree, especially the dense areas where the J Trees look like a forest.
We made awesome time to the car and water drop two, around one o’clock and definitely enjoyed the water and AC on pour way back to pick up my car. We got a quick snack in Yacca Valley drove to Black Rock Canyon and offloaded gear. It was fun to backpack again thought J Tree but it was even better doing the trip with my mom and it looked like she had a great time.