When my boyfriend and I travel together, we always surprise each other with one thing. When we went to California (Joshua Tree and San Diego), I surprised him with renting a wave runner for the San Diego Bay. My boyfriend surprised me with upgrading our rental car to a Jeep Wrangler so we could go off-roading in Joshua Tree. Love it! We were able to take the windows and roof off, so it felt like riding a convertible through the desert. And the pictures we took from that car, some while driving, were amazing.
We explored a few trails. The first one was through mountain valley’s. Mountains on every side of us! A few surprises along the way, including a forked road, one of which lead to a sudden drop off. Luckily, we saw it in time. At one point we even ran into an entire fleet of Jeep’s, much more experienced than us. They entered the trail after us, and they very quickly passed up. We ran into them again, about an hour later, parked and eating picnics on one of the mountains. They very kindly moved all their Jeeps for us so we could get through, and they continued picnic-ing. Pretty sure they passed us again later on. Again, they were MUCH more experienced than us. But I’m pretty sure we bonded with our Jeeps.
The second trail we took was Old Dale Road. It was seemingly boring at first. It was about 25 miles through the flat desert. My boyfriend decided this would be a good trail to teach me four wheel drive. And not to brag, but I was doing awesome. I made it through all the rock piles, I made it through some tight spaces, I was nailing it! The trail dead ends at Mission Mine, a completely abandoned gold mine. Apparently, it was too much work to remove the mine, so they just left it there. We got out, took our photos, and made our way back to the Jeep. It was then we realized that the trail we came in on was marked “ONE WAY”. In retrospect, we didn’t see another car that entire trail, and we definitely could have driven back the way we came. But, that is not what we did…
The trail continued onto a mountain, that would then take us back to 29 Palms Highway. I get in the drivers seat, and start driving up this mountain. About thirty feet up I yelled “I’M NOT HAVING FUN ANYMORE!” and made my boyfriend switch seats with me. Best decision I’ve ever made. While the trail started with a couple feet on either side of us, the further we went up, the narrower the trail became. Soon, there was about six inches from our right tire, to a 100 ft. drop-off. And it’s not like we could turn around. We started this trail, we literally HAD to finish it.
Meanwhile, the sun was setting, and we had NO idea how long it would take us to get off of this mountain. Enter: panic attack. Granted, the sunset from a top of a mountain in Joshua Tree is beautiful. But, the idea of being 6 inches from a ledge on a mountain in complete darkness…is terrifying. I was hyperventilating, just a little bit. I was holding on to the dashboard grip like my life depended on it (it might have). Finally, we start going DOWN hill. I’m still not sure how we were going uphill for so long. But, two hours and one panic attack later, we started driving down the mountain. I could finally enjoy the sunset.