In December, we drove to Joshua Tree National Park to join the National Park Geek for a short family-friendly hike and night photography meetup. It was a quick trip to practice taking photos with the new camera Mary got me for our anniversary as well as giving the girls some time to climb some rocks.

We’re lucky Joshua Tree is only 150 miles from our house so we made the drive during the typical nap time hoping the girls would sleep. They didn’t sleep much at all, but we had a good drive out with only one bathroom stop.

The family hike was at Hidden Valley Nature Loop, a 1-mile trail through some beautiful rock formations and Joshua Trees. Because of our bathroom stop and a food order at McDonalds, we were late to the group hike. I think it actually worked out in our favor because the girls wanted to move at their own pace and explore around. A group hike would have had us chasing the rest of the pack, so we took our time and played.

Taking a break from hiking
Swinging on some trees!
Leona decided to strike this pose for the picture..

After our hike, we drove a bit deeper into the park to a parking lot where folks started setting up their tripods and practicing some night photography. For us, having a new camera, we were asking the “veterans” for tips and tricks on how to use the camera settings to their full capabilities.

Quincy in motion!
Doing their Joshua Tree impressions

The big takeaways for us was that the desert gets cold quickly. We had lots of layers for everyone and once the sun set, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, from 60 or so to the low 40s.

Grateful to have this national park so close to us, right in our backyard.

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