Without trees hammocks would be futile, so would the human race. I want to get a rad hammock shot as much as the next guy but not by putting nature at jeopardy.
When I visited Joshua Tree National Park in 2015 I didn’t hang any hammocks and still had a spectacular time. Partly because we met “Joshua Tree Hobos” these people are incredible, they are in their mid twenties and go live at Joshua Tree for a couple months staying in caves and bouldering the 3000+ unique rock formations that exist within the park.
One of these hobos, Hobo Josh ventured into our camp and we welcome him and his friends with beer and some camp fire beans. They gladly accepted and offered to take us into the “Chasm of Doom“.
To venture into the Chasm of Doom at night, nobody was allowed to bring flashlights or headlamps. We go into this cave system 20 people deep and have to trust each other and feel our way around. After hours of climbing, bouldering and shimmying through you eventually have to go into a tight space backwards and get help from the other side to be pulled into what is called the “birth canal”. It’s a journey you won’t easily forget and you instantly become best friends with the adventurers in your group.
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The History of the Majestic Joshua Trees
Joshua Trees get their names from Mormon pioneers. The plant resembles the old testament prophet raising his hands in prayer thus Joshua Tree was born.
The Joshua Tree is a succulent plant called Yucca brevifolia it’s unique image has become synonymous with the Southwest, from appearing in Western cinemas to earning a spot on the U2 album cover, people from all over come see this unique plant.
The eccentric form and unrelenting resilience of the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) inspire many who come to pay homage to the high desert. Artists and adventurers from all over the world come to the plant’s namesake park to bear witness to it’s otherworldliness set to an equally martian-esque landscape.
David Demille wrote about how Joshua trees are getting endangered species consideration and Joshua Tree National Park says though this is mostly to climate change us humans can play a factor as well.
Christine Pfranger from the “Coyote Corner” a one-stop-shop for all of your JT needs located on Hwy 62 & Park Blvd in downtown Joshua Tree is a huge advocate for protecting the park for generations to come and encouraged this post.
Remarkably, researchers believe that Joshua trees can live up to 150 years old (although JTNP suspects that some of our larger plants are older than that). From snowy winters to extremely hot summers, their adaptations allow them to thrive through some of the harshest conditions that the desert has to offer.
Yet Joshua trees are not eternally unyielding; various factors threaten them including wildfires, climate change, and sadly, even humans. Although environmental factors are generally beyond our control, individuals can help protect this iconic plant by reducing any unnecessary stressors.
If you are going to hang hammocks do so on the thousands of boulders but do not touch the Joshua Trees.
Their shallow root system make them prone to breaking or collapsing when subject to heavier weight. That is why climbing or hanging hammocks on Joshua trees are highly discouraged no matter how well established they may seem.
Joshua trees may look sturdy, but they have shallow roots and can be knocked over by high winds. Climbing on and hanging hammocks from them can knock them over too. Choose to #ExploreResponsibly and keep Joshua trees standing tall.
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Our friends at Hammock Living also did a PSA on Hammocking at Joshua Tree National Park.
Though we love hammocks, we love trees more. Please do not hang hammocks on Joshua Trees, bring a stand or hammock on the incredible boulders.
If you do end up camping at Joshua Tree National Park you might want to read the The 12 Best Backcountry Camping Stoves in 2017