Sara Montour Lewis — Seattle Commercial Children's Lifestyle + Wildlife Conservation Photographer

Field Notes

These field notes are a little peak behind the scenes of personal adventures, creation of stock imagery, location scouting, etc.

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Road Trip — Part 2 — Joshua Tree + Mojave National Preserve

Joshua Tree was somewhere that we had been talking about going for a couple of years. We almost made it there on our trip to Arizona, but it was just a little bit too far out of the way, so when the discussion came around on what route to take for our honeymoon, Joshua Tree was included on the list pretty quickly. 

I had found this campsite in the Mojave National Preserve before we left and it look perfect for us. If you're wondering what "perfect for us" is, when it comes to campsites, the list is pretty short: 1) remote 2) rad views 3) FREE. Check, check and check. 

We pulled up after it was already dark, which is one of our favorite things, too. There's nothing better than setting up camp in the dark and then waking up in the morning to check out the sights. As we were driving down this road, forever, trying to find one of the fire rings, that's the only indication of a campsite, Jeff was telling me that before we left he had read about the high concentration of mountain lions in the Mojave. No less than 30 seconds after he said that these two GLOWING EYES crossed the road in front of us and then stopped + stared as we got closer. Now, generally I'm all for seeing any wildlife, and it was likely a coyote and not an actual mountain lion, but holy sh*t that was a little unnerving. 

We finally found a fire ring, pulled in and started setting up the car for camping. I rolled the windows down a little bit for some ventilation and we went to sleep that night surrounded by Joshua Trees with coyotes howling all around. 

Now, maybe it was because I was crazy sick (which ALWAYS happens when we leave on a trip!), but Jeff and I both liked the Mojave National Preserve even more than Joshua Tree. We didn't have a ton of time to do much exploring in either location, and Joshua Tree is likely more accessible with more to do, but for a quick trip I'd definitely recommend heading north and exploring around the MNP. There are way more Joshua Trees and way less people. Win-Win.

Via the iPhone: