Joshua Tree: Day Four

Our last day in the park was spent hiking the easy but gorgeous Hidden Valley loop and the steeper Ryan Mountain trail.  We soaked up as much heat and sun as we could.  We cooked our last meal on our teeny stove, and we toasted Barry's 40th one last time before heading home.

We revelled in how incredibly rejuvenating a trip to a warm climate can be in the middle of a cold, wet winter, and we hope to make travel like this a habit.  We had fun on our way out of the park, checking out Yucca Valley for a bit and enjoying the selection at The End - a fantastic little shop along a sweet stretch of the highway.  We made one stop in Palm Springs before going to the airport: Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates for a date shake.  And we noted that the only draw back to the entire trip was that the park rangers we encountered at Joshua Tree (five of them to whom we spoke in person one to whom we spoke on the phone before the trip) were not very well-versed on the trails in the park.  That's not been our experience at any other National Park, and it frustrated us at times on this trip.  While the rangers were able to suggest the popular view points in the park that many visitors reach by car or a short stroll, they weren't able to make recommendations on good longer hikes with backpacking options.  So, know before you go.  But know that it's worth it.  So worth it.

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