Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park

Our original plan was to leave early Saturday morning, early enough to secure a campsite at one of the first-come-first-served campgrounds in Joshua Tree. Because of coronavirus, the park had decided to remove reservations for all campgrounds.

Having debated about camping at Black Rock, we decided to go deeper into the park. By this time, about a mile before the West Entrance, we long line greets us. It would be another hour until we make it through the toll kiosk.

One by one, we enter and exit campgrounds: Hidden Valley, Ryan, Jumbo Rocks, Bell, White Tank. Our last hope is Cottonwood. Skipping lunch, we head there straightaway. Only two sites remain, and we grab one of them. A few minutes later, an RV pulls in at the last site. Finally able to relax, we see many more cars come in, circling to find a spot. We are so lucky.

After having a late lunch of inari sushi and seaweed, we backtrack to Split Rock. There is a nice large patch of shade underneath, and Daphney and Jayden enjoy climbing all over the boulders.

For dinner, we have homegrown greens, beets, and sourdough grilled cheese. Afterwards, we walk to the nearby amphitheater, where the kids are able to be their silly selves. After dark, we explore the surface of the moon with binoculars and talk about it looking like cheese. With her lantern in hand, Daphney insists on reading National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night to her stuffed fox. Then, she teaches Jayden some of the constellations.

This rounds out Jayden’s first ten nights camping and makes Daphney’s 33rd night.

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