About a year ago I dreamt of owning a small cabin in Joshua Tree that I could enjoy as a vacation home, and also Airbnb. That dream has come to life.
My parents moved to Yucca Valley after they retired in 2011. I was bummed at first, having grown up in Ventura near the beach, it didn’t seem like an upgrade. Also, I had never heard of the city, so naturally it must be some podunk town with nothing to do. Obviously I was wrong. Yucca Valley is a quiet town, but there are so many things to do and see. Nestled north above Palm Springs in the mountains at 3,369 feet, it has stunning views of the Joshua Tree National Park Mountains and a picturesque desert landscape. Close by you can visit an old western set called Pioneertown, see a show at Pappy & Harriets, hike or climb inside Joshua Tree National Park, and meditate at the Integratron. I’m always discovering new things to do and see when I’m there. Like my parents, I like to explore and find hidden gems wherever I may be.
After spending so much time in the desert, I’ve fallen in love with it’s magical charm. Through a chain of unexpected occurrences, my parents and I started on a project to renovate our own studio space in Joshua Tree, a little 500 square foot cabin on 5 acres of desert land we like to call Mountain Shadow Cabin.
Now that the project is live on Airbnb, I had a kickoff weekend with my friends to test out the space. 7 of us journeyed from the concrete jungle to explore the sandy desert. We arrived at 8:30pm on a friday night and immediately got the fire going to warm up. It’s chilly in the desert at night! Our buddy Ryan is a talented musician and brought his gear out to play for us. He mixed tracks and played keyboard over them as we drank beer and wine by the campfire under the star filled sky. No light pollution, just glorious amounts of stars.
We woke up Saturday morning, drank coffee on the patio overlooking Mount Nebu, and then got ready to head into the Joshua Tree National Park. Clouds filled the skies and made it a bit cooler. It was great weather for a mid-day hike. We decided on a short but steep hike to Ryan Mountain. The hike starts at 3,000 feet, so the air is thinner than usual. The path is easy to follow, so there isn’t any risk of getting lost on this hike. We climbed as a swift pace up the steep grade to the top, enjoying the expansive view of Joshua Trees and the shapes of shadow and light dancing throughout the valleys. At the top there is a great panoramic view of all sides of the park and beyond.
After the hike we bought some beer and firewood and headed back to Mountain Shadow Cabin for sunset. It's always a spectacular show in the desert, especially on a cloudy day. The sky lit up with pinks and purples all around. I watched my friends excited faces as they wandered the backyard, taking in every angle.
My parents arrived at 5pm with food for the group. We devoured meatball sandwiches, potato salad, and later some brownies and pumpkin pie. Thanks mom! The sun went down and the fire went up. The shenanigans began! Ryan mixed and played keyboard for us again as we merrily drank wine and beer. My dad busted out a really awesome fireside poncho. My mom put on my friend Hannah’s furry bear hat and danced around. Ryan played "oldies," salsa, and electronic dance music. We were friends in the desert having fun, leaving our laptops behind for a weekend in nature.
The sun rose on Sunday and the air was crisp as we sipped coffee on the patio. Was it really time to go home? What an incredible weekend it had been. Can’t wait to do it again!