Travel Photography | Joshua Tree National Park, California

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

I had always heard stories about Joshua Tree. I-Tree. A spiritual place. Full of peace, serenity and connection like you’ve never felt before.

As a boy from Burgin Ky,

(GO BULLDOGS!!) I never thought it’d be something I’d experience in person.

You know how it goes. Some experiences are just unfathomable to us, especially when we’re young.

Especially when the place is literally on the other side of the country.

Yet here I was. Now thousands of miles away from home. Driving the last 3 hour stretch from Las Vegas through the early morning hours to catch first light.

The morning was cold. The town outside of Joshua tree was empty. Sleeping. Unbothered by my presence.

It reminded me of home. Simple. Quiet. Friendly.

I stopped by the only open gas station I could find, pouring myself a cup of coffee. My ritual. Even when it’s not the best cup, it’s still warm on the hands. Perfect for mornings like these.

I didn’t linger. The roadtrip through the backroads between Las Vegas and California were narrow-dark. The trip had taken longer than I had hoped, and I didn’t want to miss the twilight colors as morning set in.

A short drive from the town up this never ending hill lead me to the park entrance- the guard gate unoccupied - it was even too early for them.

“Guess I really didn’t need this” I thought, jokingly- glancing at my National Parks Pass (irl they’re amazing, and so affordable. Highly recommended if you’re planning on visiting more than 4-5 parks within a year.)

I didn’t know much about Joshua Tree personally. Only stories from a few friends. I wanted it to remain a mystery. A surprise.

But now that I was here. I felt it only respectful to educate myself. I spent a few moments looking into the history of the park.

I learned- interestingly that Joshua Tree was named by Mormon settlers as they crossed over the Colorado River into new territory. They named the tree after the prophet Joshua due to the human like postures of the trees which reminded them of hands reaching towards the sky, guiding them west.

I reached for the volume knob on my 2010 Volkswagen Routan and turned the classical music up. Gaspar Cassado this morning.

There’s something about early morning drives. Windows down, heater up, sipping on a cup of coffee, listening to classical music.

The world feels like it’s moving in slow motion. Moving with you. It makes sense. It just feels...right.

The kinda moments you‘re truly grateful for in life.

and then...the magic began.

The landscape began to change before my eyes. From engulfed in darkness, to cotton candy and fiery orange.

Within moments, light had overtaken the park, revealing it in all its glory.

It truly was magical. The roads and mountains illuminated by the morning sun, seemingly wrapped elegantly in gold.

Small trails wound throughout the park, leading to some of the most powerful sights I’ve ever beheld - in particular a tree that defied all odds and logic.

A tree grows through the rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree was truly a moving experience. It was everything they said it would be.

I’m eternally grateful for the adventure.

I hope you get to visit someday soon.

If you’re planning a trip to Joshua Tree, or any National Parks at this time- don’t forget to check available resources to keep up to date with real-time Covid-19 restrictions, park information, open status, weather conditions and more.

Stay safe and healthy out there! I hope you enjoy the gallery from the trip.

Cheers, until the next adventure my friends

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