nap_time: (Crimson Spell kissie)
It's Wednesday evening and yours truly was unusually productive for the first half of the workday and rather than continue that through my four-hour desk shift, I thought I would do a little writing. Oh yeah, you guessed it, it's time for the vacation wrap up. Not to worry, I'm still planning on posting photos from the trip, I just haven't been able to get my hands on some of the photos taken by Rachel. Heh, that's what happens when a person takes too many days off :)

So this was my first time traveling with my co-worker Rachel. Turned out well despite the fact that she's basically and early to bed early to rise and I'm a night owl type. I ended up getting out of bed between 7:30 - 8:00 every day, but that's ok because we had lots of hiking and nature trailing to do each day.  We did a seven-day whirlwind tour of two national parks - Death Valley and Joshua Tree. We ended up putting just over 2000 miles on her car and I only had to drive about 100 of them (yay!). In fact, Rachel was the lucky one who ended up driving through our bit of snow and she did a fine job. But I swear some day I'd like to visit SoCal when it's not being thrashed by a horrible storm!

The fun really got started on the second day of the trip when we got into Death Valley. I climbed up and down Ubehebe Crater and got a million volcanic rocks in my shoe (some of which I swear are still in there!), we visited the awesome Goldwell Open Air Museum in Nevada, we went below sea level - way, way below sea level - and Rachel took a million pictures of flowers. Not the best year or timing for wildflowers but I thought the variety of what we saw was decent. My favorite part of our visit to Death Valley was the camping. Oh yeah! Two glorious nights of communing with the rock-hard ground. Heh. Actually, it wasn't a bad time of year to camp, it wasn't too cold nor was it too hot. It was a bit windy and due to a snafu (booked somebody else into our camp spot after they had booked us there!) we ended up putting the tent up practically in the dark! But once the stars came out and the campfire lit (with wood given to use for free by the manager to make amends for the booking problem) it was all completely fabulous. Mmmmmm, I love, love, LOVE me some star gazing. Plus, I got to see a supermoon rising which had to be just about the best way to end the day.

After Death Valley it was onto Joshua Tree. I know, I know! I had just been there in December with Jessica. But 1). I never did write about that trip :) and 2) I loved it sooo much I was incredibly happy to return. We stayed at a hotel and I was quite happy to have the camping behind us especially since JTNP was a bit cooler than DVNP. We did even more hikes and nature trailing in JT. OMG it was fabulous. I may have dragged Rachel up one mountain that had a bit more elevation gain that she probably would have liked (I loooove you, Ryan Mt.!!), but I think the rest of the trails (Hidden Valley, Barker Dam, Skull Rock, Palms thingy) were both scenerific and easy to handle. I even squeezed in a Keyes Mt. hike that I had all to myself (buying that hiking guidebook paid off!!). Best of all, JT had some awesome blossoming cacti! Even I took photos of the fuchsia and orange and white blooms. We even caught a few Joshua trees in bloom (once we knew what to look for we spotted a million of 'em in town especially).  

Anyway, I could yammer on and on about all this (I realize now I left off a whole day's worth of activities in DV - oh well!), but I think that hits the highlights. I'll be posting photos sooner or later, so you can look forward to reading more details (and maybe even a sarcastic comment or two!). 

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September 2012

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