Pack check for Anza Borego or Joshua Tree November?
Sep 18, 2023 at 1:57 pm #3789223
Am I missing anything for desert backpacking? Guessing temps down to the high 40’s at night. Base is 14.7, Not packed is 4.91, no consumables added yet. I’m really going to hate carrying all the water needed to be safe.
2nd week of November I’m going to be in San Diego (from Minnesota) and never walked a desert. For starters I think just overnight as far from the car as I’m comfortable, stay up late watching the stars, and the next day wandering back for a water refill, then going to a different spot.
Here’s my initial packlist:Sep 18, 2023 at 3:42 pm #3789234Glen LBPL Member
@wyatt-carsonLocale: Southern Arizona
Looks pretty good but check weather of course. Don’t see a blade but may have missed it and unless you know a reliable water source at your destination you most likely don’t need the filter or water treatment. There are some water sources though so perhaps. You will need to carry all water for the many areas with no source. You don’t say how much water but we will carry 12 liters in my pack and 8 in girlfriend’s for many dry desert treks. We have to resupply every three days. If you are going to resupply daily then you can carry far less water than that.
We’ve been in both of your intended destinations and liked them. Spend some time in the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua. You can’t camp there but you can camp a mile west of the boundary. There are some very nice rock formations out that way so you can hide your tent and hike into the Wonderland and come back to camp for the night. All of Joshua Tree is excellent. Check current regs. Free permits are supposed to be at the trailheads but none that were not filled out were available so we wrote our own with the pertinent info. Didn’t want to drive a half hour back to the Ranger station we had just checked. Nobody had been there to check the trailhead during our stay. We like Joshua Tree more than Anza but Anza has some serious topography too. But we like all the bouldering in Joshua tree and exotic shapes and stacks of rock. It is about the physical size of Yosemite so you’ll have some room to ramble around. On one trip every single Joshua tree was blooming. Don’t know how they are doing lately but they do make some powerful subjects for photography. The stacked boulders do too.Sep 18, 2023 at 4:05 pm #3789238
Thanks Glen for the once-over and location recommendation. I left off the blade ’cause in all these pack shakedowns that’s a magnet. ;-) I’ll be carrying a small 3.4 oz fixed 3v.
Your water recommendation is about what I was planning: 3-4 liter / day – glad to have that validated.Sep 18, 2023 at 4:51 pm #3789244DWR DBPL Member
Most of Joshua Tree is much higher in altitude so will likely be much cooler. When in the desert: if it’s cold, go low; if it’s hot, go high…Sep 18, 2023 at 5:20 pm #3789249Glen LBPL Member
@wyatt-carsonLocale: Southern Arizona
I’ll stress weather just a little bit more. It’s classic Mojave desert but can become cold. We were passing the night on the way to Death Valley and camped in the Mojave Preserve just north of Joshua Tree. It was March so not precisely when you are going but the normal 60° desert blanket didn’t quite cut it. A gale force blizzard hit. I was surprised the tent didn’t sustain damage. It snowed all over the desert floor and all the stacked rocks but most just blew away, dry granular snow. The asphalt driving out the next morning was glazed ice. The locals said they’d never seen anything like it. So double check that weather. Hopefully it’s nice and mild. November can be a great time but keep an eye out.Sep 18, 2023 at 5:39 pm #3789251
Joshua Tree is pretty spread out. A series of day hikes may be a good option. There’s some good stops just driving through the park. Around 29 Palms, 49 Palm Oasis is an easy walk.
To the south, on the north side of I-10 is the cottonwood springs area. I think it’s Lost Palms Canyon you could hike to and camp.
There’s Whitewater River Preserve. An old trout farm. I don’t know if you can park overnight in their lot. I think you can. You can’t park anywhere on the road going there. There’s actually a series of preserves. Sand to Sea. You could park at their other preserve, Mission Creek, but that’s dirt road. Well graded. I’ve heard that it actually goes up Mission Creek. It was blocked off by private property. The PCT goes through both those areas. I never filtered there except for taste.
Theres another preserve near Pioneertown out of Yucca Valley. Pioneertown itself is an old western movie set. I think you can camp there. There’s a little dinner place out there that sometimes has good music. Robert Plant played there once on a Sunday night with their regular band. Paul McCartney. Of course I missed those nights. I did see Eric Burden.
The preserve near Pioneertown is Pipes Canyon Preserve. It’s a nice walk up the creek. Rich in Indian history.
You can do a loop through Pioneertown coming out at Old Women Springs Road back towards Yucca Valley. On the hill to the south is an Earthworks exhibit on the side of the hill.
49 Palm OasisSep 18, 2023 at 6:31 pm #3789254
Dang! I’ll re-think my sleep system and take warmer extras to swap for last-minute weather adjustments before I leave the parking area.
I plan to rent a car and split my 5 or so days between desert and somewhere in the hills to the west, like Mt. Laguna area. So much area to choose from and so little time! MN doesn’t have huge expanse of open area and mountain views.Sep 19, 2023 at 2:51 am #3789278
If you want a challenge, there’s the cactus to clouds trail out of Palm Springs. Also there Indian canyons are worth a short walk. A nice palm oasis.Sep 19, 2023 at 10:07 am #3789324Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
In November it can be cold. Years ago I did a trip in Anza Borrego mid-November. Lows in the 30s and some rain.
Joshua Tree has many options, but the lack of water can be a logistical problem. Terran Terran mentioned the Cottonwood Springs area, which is a transition zone between the Lower Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. It can be much colder in the more northern parts of the park.
Here’s a link to some of my trip reports on my blog. Several hikes in Southern California and Nevada. Some are those suggested by Terran Terran.Sep 19, 2023 at 10:41 am #3789332
It can get cold. I was out in Morongo Valley a few years ago in December. It was down to 14*. It’s high desert.
The highest point in JT is Queen Mountain. It’s a nice rocky hike. We found a small cave out there once. Maybe the size of a small shed. There was faint stripes of paint inside. Perhaps of Indian origin. Maybe some hippies from the 60’s? It tops off at around 5,600’Sep 19, 2023 at 3:16 pm #3789371
Wow sounds like I should change to my 15/30 bag, and have expedition weight base layer, gloves, beanie ready if the immediate forecast looks cooler. I had hoped to keep pack weight down just a little anyway.
How reliable are the short term forecasts anyway?Sep 19, 2023 at 4:05 pm #3789375
I think the short term forecasts are fairly accurate. Even a few weeks out. A forecast for rain often turns out to be mainly wind. Ever so often a freak storm may come down from the mountains. Lots of sunshine usually.
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