Friday, January 12, 2018

Ringing in the New Year in Joshua Tree.

We began the new year with ¾ of our family sick, battling fevers, squashed in a tiny hotel room in the desert. Only one of us made it up past 9pm on New Year’s Eve, and we found ourselves reevaluating our plan to spend New Year’s Day in Joshua Tree. The kids were in recovery mode from being sick, and Matt was feeling a little too ambitious, so we medicated the feverish among us and rallied. We headed to the car, only to be welcomed by a sputtering dead battery. Once again, we wondered if the best choice was to adventure on or just stay put, but the thought of being trapped in a hotel room with a sick family seemed more depressing than being in the beauty of nature with a sick family, so we called AAA, waited at a coffee shop with a hot latte and a bagel, and once our car was ready, we drove into the national park. 

Everyone fell asleep on the way there, except for me, the ¼ of our family feeling healthy, so I relished the solitude. It felt indulgent listening to a podcast in silence while sipping on my hot coffee as the Joshua Trees scattered across the desert landscape came into view in multitude. 

New Year's Day in Joshua Tree was beautiful and challenging. We ended the day eating hot pho outside the door of our hotel room on the ground, trying not to wake the two sleeping children inside. We didn’t have any profound reflections on our hopes for the new year, because Matt was still feeling sick, so instead he went to sleep as soon as we finished eating. 

I’m not sure if this New Year’s Day was a good or bad omen for what 2018 holds for us. Sick children, a sick husband, a broken car, a date between two exhausted parents on the cold ground outside of a small hotel room, knowing a night of intermittent sleep would be upon us soon. Yet, the day was filled with awe inspiring, striking desert views, which were surpassed by the beauty of our kids exploring nature, hiking, and playing in the dirt. We spent the day together, seeking out adventure and fun and joy.

We ended up spending a couple of days in Joshua Tree on our desert vacation, wooed back by the calm and peace and unexpected love for a barren landscape. The living things are sparse, but those that thrive have adapted to the harsh conditions, and we were in awe of the beauty present in such a place. It is a metaphor for life that was not lost on me.

As we enter into 2018, this is where we are at. We take on the challenges, seek out the beauty, and adventure on, the four of us, together.   

Hiking to Barker Dam:
We made it a fun game on our hike to try to find the craziest Joshua Tree:
 It's fun that Everett can hike on his own now, but this still happened:
 We let them play in the dirt, and then we wonder why they get sick all the time:
Hidden Valley:

When your hair matches the landscape of Joshua Trees. Still haven't figured out how to tame this mane:

 Love this exchange. "Cambria, I can help you climb the rocks:"
 I'd say I taught him well:
Cap Rock hiking trail:
One of the most fun parts of spending time in Joshua Tree was climbing rocks with Everett:
"Look at my antlers":
Skull Rock hiking trail:
Ended up like this again somehow:
Hidden Valley:

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