Juniper Flats Trailhead to Stubbe Springs Loop
(12 miles, +1,400/-1,400 feet).
ZoZoZoom has never been backpacking before. She was especially worried about being comfortable sleeping and being attacked by wild animals in the dead of night. But with her spirit of adventure, she overcame these concerns and hit the road with me for an overnight in Joshua Tree.
We started out from the Juniper Flats Trailhead where it was cold! We had to get a selfie for — who else — my niece (and ZoZoZoom’s granddaughter) named Juniper.
Then we set out amongst the spectacular Joshua Trees that never cease to amaze me.
There were beautiful colors on some of the desert bushes.
There is no water in Joshua Tree, and given the differences in our ages I volunteered to carry all 11 liters of it for both of us. My ZPacks Arc Blast was still pretty comfy in spite of my 32 pound total weight, but it would have been a bit more challenging if we weren’t camping just 2 miles from the trailhead.
Soon we departed from the trail and crossed a couple of abandoned jeep roads to find a flat place to set up camp. It was the first time ZoZoZoom had set up a tarp tent.
After just a couple of tries she got it set up nicely and we snacked a little before heading out on our 10 mile day hike.
The southern part of the Stubbe Springs Trail heads up a few hundred feet to a ridge where we got our first views of the snowy peaks of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto.
The trail then descended to a broad plain that sat right above Fan Canyon.
A spur trail took us to the edge of the plain where we snacked and took in spectacular views to the southwest.
Rather than backtracking on the spur trail, we decided to do a cross country bonus mile to get back to the loop trail.
The cross country was quite incredible, allowing us to see some beautiful plants and a spooky bleached deer skeleton.
We eventually found the trail again and were glad to put the GPS away and go back into autopilot on our route back to camp.
Finally, we each ducked into our tents to get warm and settle in for the long winter night. ZoZoZoom worried about going to bed so early and asked “what time is it?”
I said “4:58 — what could go wrong?”