Thanksgiving, with a Tree Named Joshua and Food Poisoning

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Miya

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For the last 2 years, my families new obsession has been ME. It has been exhausting, since I usually keep to myself and they have constantly allowed me that luxury. I am grateful for their love, but the last couple months have been especially bad. I normally go to my dad's for Thanksgiving, because he is usually alone, but the last 2 years he has had a nice interest that comes around with her kids; my mom has my stepdad, my brother, and my grandma. Everyone was going to have someone for Thanksgiving, and so I announced last month that I would be skipping Thanksgiving this year. It really isn't my holiday and I don't have a hankering for Thanksgiving food ever. I actually call Thanksgiving, Cranberry Sauce Day, since that is really the only thing I like.

I had a bunch of ideas of where I would go, hoping that the snow would stay away. It did not, so on Monday, November 18th, I decided on the desert! I have never been to the desert before. I had really loose plans to head to Joshua Tree National Park. I was so excited and needed this trip so badly. I was purposely keeping my plans loose so I could enjoy myself. I don't have a deep love of backpacking alone and figured I would pack for backpacking, but if I wasn't digging it I could sleep at a campground or in my car! I just wanted to hike, take photos, and be outside.

Backstory, OVER.

https://evermoremoments.smugmug.com/Joshua-Tree

I left work early and started my trip on Wednesday at 20:00. I got to JTNP at 04:00. I couldn't believe how much traffic there was so late. It didn't start to thin out until 0100 (around LA). I was exhausted, but filled with so much excitement! I crawled into my back seat and slept till 10:00! I hit the trail at 11:00.

This was definitely the heaviest my pack has weighed in a long time. I had a gallon of water and ~4 days of food.

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First time I have ever seen a cactus...not in the store.

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This is Joshua.

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I set up camp after 2ish miles. Then I wandered off and explored and climbed things!

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My tent and pack are down there.

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Idk what these are or what they look like when they are 'alive', but I loved these little delicate wisps, so peaceful and lovely!

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Precarious rock formation tripod selfie!

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I love the way the light catches these cacti. Looks like they glow. Also, there were nests in most of them! How neat!

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Once I was done exploring, I headed back to my tent.
I then decided I didn't want to be out there alone. So I packed up my stuff and headed back to my car. I drove around and saw the main road attractions. I checked the first come first serve campgrounds, they were all booked.
No big deal.
Headed back to my first TH and decided I would sleep in my car and head out again in the morning. I enjoyed a backpacking Thanksgiving in my car and watched the sunset.

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Thanksgiving Taco!

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My tummy had felt pained for most of the afternoon. I had mistaken the discomfort as hunger, so I probably only made what was to come, much worse. The food poisoning lasted about 5 hours. Having to deal with that in a very busy, single pit toilet, was not ideal. I can already laugh about it, but I hope I never have to experience that again. I would wander back to my car with my cold sweats and fall in and out of sleep...consciousness haha. I got to enjoy some peculiar thoughts and hallucinations. Minus the toilet symptoms, the mental state was an enjoyable experience.
After that, I called the trip an end.
I decided to drive the 5 hours to my dads in Reedley, CA. I was weak, tired and couldn't imagine I would be in a well state to hike the next day. I made it to my dads around midnight and only had a couple more disruptions that night and the next morning.

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It all worked out fine. I am grateful for the time I had there. My dad was so happy to see me and it was really the first time he has ever been around to take care of me when I was sick. He lives on a nice plot of land that looks over the Kings River. It was really low, but we attempted some fishing. :)

The desert blew away my expectations, I cannot even imagine what it looks like with flowers! I never had any desire to go out into the desert, but all the amazing photos that are posted on this site had really stirred my curiosity. I recommend Joshua Tree National Park. You only have to hike in one mile before you have to set up camp. Also, the Park really promotes going off trail and exploring (if you are knowledgeable, have a map etc.)! The rock formations just following the main road are amazing! Keep in mind, super busy, people snapping selfies in every direction, but that is everywhere now and days. I cannot wait to go back again and NOT get sick.
 

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Bummer on getting sick, but it looks like you made the best of it. Great TR and photos. Joshua Tree is one of the many places I haven’t been but hope to see someday.
 

Dreamer

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#4
Nice pictures - great attitude. Ate some bad sausage on a trip this summer and it was no fun.
 

Miya

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Bummer on getting sick, but it looks like you made the best of it. Great TR and photos. Joshua Tree is one of the many places I haven’t been but hope to see someday.
I hope you can cross it off your bucket list soon. I am sure you would like it!

Food poisoning on a pit toilet. :oops:
I would say that emoji about describes it. Oh, haha, Bitmoji has one.
bitmoji-20181125084510.png


Nice pictures - great attitude. Ate some bad sausage on a trip this summer and it was no fun.
Good to know someone is out there who understands hehe!
 

Titans

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@Miya - great report. Amazing photos. You made the best of it. I can imagine your dad was estatic to see you!!!
We haven’t yet been to Joshua Tree National Park, one day.... But we did encounter loads of these trees in a small area between Phoenix and Vegas.
Try to visit Saguaro NP close to Tucson
Sorry about the Food Poisoning!
Hope you have recovered well by now.
 

Perry

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#7
Very nice pics as always. Glad you survived the curse.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Nick

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#8
Ahh, the desert. Be careful, you might get hooked. Now come experience it on the Colorado Plateau! Food poisoning with a pit toilet sounds rough. I once got it really bad on a backpacking trip in GSENM. I was going so often that I ended up just digging a trench in the sand and filling it in as I went. Really happy that there was enough TP on hand for that... :oops:
 

Titans

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Ok then..... our food poisoning events have always been while scuba diving, it would mostly happen in Egypt or Mexico.
The issue gets even more complicated, when you have a tight wet suit on, which HAS to come off first ! :eek:
@Miya - we were always told to up fluids and salt during and after which helps feeling better again.
 

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LarryBoy

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#11
Beautiful photos... but that's still pretty dang miserable. They can't all be winners!
 

LarryBoy

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I once got really bad food poisoning while on a trip to the Madrid area. I drifted in and out of consciousness for about three days, hurled over the Aqueduct of Segovia, and got hassled by the cops for collapsing in the grass outside some tourist site. And then my (hammered) roommates decided to watch the Exorcism of Emily Rose at 4am, which made for even weirder semi-consciousness. Good times.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Now Thankyou for the Great trip Report with the photos. I have never been to Joshua Tree and would like to go sometime. Maybe some winter. So you have to be only a mile or so from the trailhead then you can camp. Great! Loved the photos!

This is a real bummer that you got so sick on your trip. But glad that you lived thru it. Food poisoning or whatever is never fun. I have had Giardia several times in my life and in my hiking which weren't fun. Glad that you had such a good time with your father.

Wishing You the Best!
 

Ugly

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:speechless: (speechless to the sick part... Oh terrible!) Did you try any photography while feeling hallucinogenic?

Loved the photos and story.
As @Nick said, Beware of falling in love with the wonderful desert.
 

Miya

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Ahh, the desert. Be careful, you might get hooked. Now come experience it on the Colorado Plateau! Food poisoning with a pit toilet sounds rough. I once got it really bad on a backpacking trip in GSENM. I was going so often that I ended up just digging a trench in the sand and filling it in as I went. Really happy that there was enough TP on hand for that... :oops:
I think there is a chance of being hooked, but the distance will help keep me clear haha.

Yeah, I wondered if I would have been better off in the desert with my OWN private place to go.
 

Miya

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Been there done that....it wasn't fun. But luckily it was at a campground in November (on Thanksgiving weekend nonetheless) and no one else was there.
Wow, what a difference! I actually had to wait in line for the toilet a couple times. This place was PACKED. A ranger told me it is one of their busiest days of the year. I was pretty surprised.
 
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#18
I'm glad you got introduced to the desert! You mentioned the desert with flowers. Something that you need to put on your mental check list/calendar is Death Valley in February and March. A couple times a decade it has a SuperBloom that will knock your socks off. Sounds like the drive would be shorter than you getting to Joshua Tree. I was there in March 2016 so it isn't necessarily due in 2019. It all depends on the timing and volume of the rains. I didn't do a trip report (that I can find, maybe there is something in Wildflowers) but I wandered aimlessly from sunrise to sunset taking pictures when my batteries finally died. (Take a spare.) Keep an eye out on the parks website or Facebook page to see if conditions are ripe for it!
 

Miya

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Ok then..... our food poisoning events have always been while scuba diving, it would mostly happen in Egypt or Mexico.
The issue gets even more complicated, when you have a tight wet suit on, which HAS to come off first ! :eek:
@Miya - we were always told to up fluids and salt during and after which helps feeling better again.
Oh my! That does sound like an obstacle! Haha
Yeah, I did my best to keep water down and ate a whole packet of nori on the way home. I didn't know about the salt, but my body sure was craving it. Good thing I always pack seaweed! :twothumbs:

I once got really bad food poisoning while on a trip to the Madrid area. I drifted in and out of consciousness for about three days, hurled over the Aqueduct of Segovia, and got hassled by the cops for collapsing in the grass outside some tourist site. And then my (hammered) roommates decided to watch the Exorcism of Emily Rose at 4am, which made for even weirder semi-consciousness. Good times.
OMGosh, love that movie! Haha
3 days seems like a long time for food poisoning. I can't remember all the food poisoning bacteria, my notes are at work, but I wonder if you had something else? Glad you LIVED though, besides the hallucinations, that sounds awful!

I have never been to Joshua Tree and would like to go sometime. Maybe some winter. So you have to be only a mile or so from the trailhead then you can camp. Great!
Yes, only 1 mile, and 500 ft from the trail. You can also cache water, which I don't really know how that works, but sounds convenient if you want to hike on a longer trail. Also, you can just get your free permit at the TH, no lotto or reservations! :frantic:
 

Miya

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:speechless: (speechless to the sick part... Oh terrible!) Did you try any photography while feeling hallucinogenic?

Loved the photos and story.
As @Nick said, Beware of falling in love with the wonderful desert.
Oh nooooo, I was so sweaty and cold and it was dark out. I will try to think of that if it happens again! If anything, I will probably take selfies in which Iwill look ill hehe

Why should I beware of loving the desert? I will only love it in winter.

The desert is good. I hope you are still motivated to go back after being so sick. I
Sure am! Nothing stops me for long. I am hoping to go back sometime January - March. :)

I'm glad you got introduced to the desert! You mentioned the desert with flowers. Something that you need to put on your mental check list/calendar is Death Valley in February and March. A couple times a decade it has a SuperBloom that will knock your socks off. Sounds like the drive would be shorter than you getting to Joshua Tree. I was there in March 2016 so it isn't necessarily due in 2019. It all depends on the timing and volume of the rains. I didn't do a trip report (that I can find, maybe there is something in Wildflowers) but I wandered aimlessly from sunrise to sunset taking pictures when my batteries finally died. (Take a spare.) Keep an eye out on the parks website or Facebook page to see if conditions are ripe for it!
Lol I almost decided on Death Valley, because it was closer. But I had a map for JTNP and not Death Valley.
OOOoooOooO, Maybe I can hit up both spots again during that time frame! Man, I have always hated CA, but since I started hiking, I realized CA has lots of diversity for hiking! :)
 

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