a moment of zen




Late Sunday afternoon in a rather spontaneous moment we decided to throw a few things in the car and head out to Joshua Tree National Park to stay the night.  No reservations needed.




A quick scramble on a collection of boulders,






a relaxing meal by the fire,



and a scintillating debate on whether this moon was waxing or waning.  I thought waning but lost that debate b/c it is indeed waxing.




And just like that, the sun was rising.






A few sun salutations later.







A cup of coffee and we were on our way back home.  And just like that, we had our moment of zen.  Do you like quick escapes or do you prefer having plans?  We actually do better on the fly than with planning things out.  It seems like whenever we make detailed plans they come unraveled at the end.  One day I'd love to show up at the airport and catch the next available plane to anywhere that sounds interesting. Now that would be spontaneous.




61 comments

  1. We're pretty much like you....just not much on camping though - although you make it look/sound VERY easy :)

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  2. I envy your ability to be spontaneous...we have two cats to take with us or we could be more inclined to pack up and go.
    It looks like a pristine spot to pitch a tent and you have all the necessary gear to provide you with comfort and shelter.
    Your getaway looks very restorative....yoga at sunrise, very Zen!

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  3. I envy your ability to be spontaneous...we have two cats to take with us or we could be more inclined to pack up and go.
    It looks like a pristine spot to pitch a tent and you have all the necessary gear to provide you with comfort and shelter.
    Your getaway looks very restorative....yoga at sunrise, very Zen!

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  4. I'm not a camper either, but you look MARVELOUS dahling!

    S
    xo

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  5. How wonderful! You look gorgeous! Please share your ideas for on-the-go or picnic meals .... what did you have for your supper?

    Cheers! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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    1. we had veggie burgers and potato salad and cold beer. :) x

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  6. Hi Janet, Is that White Tank? Man I miss that place. Back in the day, we had a lot of crazy ass fun out there!

    jeanne

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    1. no i was jumbo rocks. white tank is closed for the season. it was gorgeous, not too hot or crowded.

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  7. You live the life Janet. Simple, but abundant!

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  8. absolutely wonderful and inspiring!

    ann

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  9. You look so beautiful in that last photo! What a stunning location, it looks like total bliss! x

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  10. How lovely! We camped at the weekend, but here in the UK one has to use official campsites so spontaneity is difficult. But I do like to just pick up and go, finding accommodation at the destination wherever that may be.

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  11. What an amazing place to set up camp!

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  12. Love this! We are not so good about spontaneous, but I am hoping that now that the kids are grown up, that will come!

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  13. beautiful photo of you!!! that's a successful skin care regime-one where you look good waking up in a tent in the middle of nowhere!

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  14. Sounds like the best! The area looks amazing.

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  15. We are definitely on the fly kind of people. I come from a line of people who go with the wind. It looks like a beautiful getaway.

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  16. darn, now I need to buy myself a bandana!

    I would rather get in the car and hit the road with no plans. We have met some really awesome people on those trips. and the best sights are usually the ones on the back roads anyway. A campfire, a beer and that sunset....is there much better.....I'm telling Chad we need to go camping. :)

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  17. Wow. Amazing. Not remotely on the fly, my sisters and I go by the nickname, Plannerina:). These are gorgeous photos.

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  18. Ok. This looks great and I know I would love it. The scaredy cat in me wonders if there are wild animals you should be concerned about. I think I am most looking forward to having more freedom with our schedule in a few years to do things like this.

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    1. you would want to be aware of rattlesnakes but as far as wild animals go...not too much to worry about in the desert.

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  19. How gorgeous!!! Looks so good. You do too x

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  20. Love this - what a great way to spend your time.
    All the best,
    Julie

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  21. I have never camped before, but you make it look like tons of fun. I think I will try it. Have you ever run into scary animals? That's my only reservation.

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    1. rattlesnakes are really the only risk. we've only seen 2 in all our years camping there. you just have to be aware. :)

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  22. Not spontaneously (because of the drive from NorCal) but Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places on earth. We go each September and I fantasize about moving down. Not sure I could take the heat of summer though. Beautiful pictures and you captured the laid back essence of JT perfectly. Christie

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    1. it is hot in the middle of summer but right now it's pretty tolerable. we will often go on short overnight trips like this after the heat of the day. :)

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  23. Oh how I am envious of your little getaway...been prepping all night for that "procedure" that we in our 50's must get. I could use some Zen right now but will have it in a few hours when they give me my drugs! :)

    I have always been the person that is not spontaneous. I wish I could be more like that. I never thought about it but you are right, things do always unravel at the end when you plan too much ahead. And I've always thought it just happens to me!

    Love the photos of you and Larry.

    Linda
    xo

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    1. oh good luck linda. not sure which procedure you are talking about for sure but i hope all goes well. x

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    2. Oh that would be a colonoscopy...All went smoothly, slept through the whole thing. :)

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  24. I especially love the photo of you in a downward dog...what a place to do sun salutations! Namaste.

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  25. My son taught me in 8th grade (they studied the moon) that the moon is waxing when it is big (fuller) on top, waning when it is big on the bottom.

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  26. I yearn to be a spontaneous outdoorsman. Probably won't make it much further than a shiny Subaru with some artfully placed mud around the wheels and a decorative kayak on top driving about suburban Ohio.
    Spontaneity brings out my "Martha Stewart Dagger Eyes" as it was put by my best friend. I prefer to plan things, and plan them well :) but I didn't raise three sons. I'm sure a brood of boys will beat the type A out of anyone. MSDE was coined one Thanksgiving when we were cooking our respective families' dinners together in my kitchen. Sometime around Wednesday at noon, I could bear no more of her haphazard vegetable chopping. I erected a blockade around the kitchen and put her on the other side; and took over her cooking. She was only allowed to cross the border to refill my g&t. We were each much happier that way. She's a great DJ and bartender.

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    1. needless to say i'm laughing so hard at your story. but yes, 3 boys beat everything out of me! really, all housework, cooking, gardening became a somewhat zen-like activity for me as a way of tuning out the chaos. :)

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  27. How do you look that good first thing in the morning after sleeping on rocks? Lol!

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  28. Hi Janet,
    I want to learn "car camping" this summer. I have a small car and don't want to go crazy on equipment. Please share what you bring, besides tent, sleeping bags, and chairs (which I see in your photo).
    Thank you!

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    1. hi Mmarie, i will try and do a post on this but until then...besides what you mentioned, ice chest, basic utensils for eating, something called a jet-boil which is fabulous for boiling water, flashlight, wood for burning and coals for bbq. i always bring my pillow for more comfy sleeping and air mattresses. We keep everything in a rubbermaid container so we just have to put that in the car and add food. it makes it super easy to just pick up and go!

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    2. Hi Janet,
      Thank you so much for this added info. On Saturday I went to my local REI used gear sale and I found a Jet-Boil (Sumo Ti) for 70% off the retail price. It was used but had all the parts. I'm sooooo excited! We also got a tent that is ample size for our family but not too big. On Sunday a neighbor told us about a nice campground/lake just 6 miles away so we will be able to try out camping there. I appreciate all that I learn from you!

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    3. oh that is such a good deal on the jet boil. it's larry's favorite camping/hiking gadget. lol

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  29. I look forward to a time when we have less family/work responsibilities and can make spontaneous jaunts happen...if I can chill, and just go with it. I'm only good at spontaneity when who I'm with starts it off; it never starts with me. Once I'm in that fly zone, though, I'm so glad I'm there. I can think of a few perfect moments i would have missed were it not for a last-minute change of mind, spurred on by some urge to go right instead of left. Awesome snow drifts when told the area could have delays, so stay home. Stumbling upon a field of flowers...knee-deep in them...when we decided to ignore a falling-apart "Do Not Trespass" sign in the middle of nowhere. Sitting in an empty sidewalk cafe, watching boats bob...and falling unexpectedly in love on a day when I had been scheduled to do something else I'd paid a fair amount of money to do with someone else. Sitting on the sand watching the stars when advised the beach wasn't safe after the sun fell. The little moments that become big moments in the bank of memories. My husband somewhat recently coaxed me up in the wee hours to sit in our backyard lawn chairs, wrapped in blankets, to watch some once-in-our-lifetime meteor shower. It was worth it.

    I think it's great that you and Larry seem to be on the same wavelength.

    Do you have any 'worries' when camping out that besides being descended upon by rattlers, you could be invaded by desert weirdos? (Probably not, or you wouldn't go.) My brother was an avid hiker/backpacker and, over the years, deep in the back country, he would occasionally run into questionable people. He started packing protection, which sort of killed the thrill of getting away from it all. Is it Dylan or Don Henley who said, "Time passes; things change.".

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    1. well vicki i guess i don't worry too much about the weirdos. we've been v lucky in that we've pretty much only met the nicest of people. a couple of years ago we met a young couple from vienna. they were here in california to visit joshua tree and then going on to see some other sites. they were the nicest people and we bonded and have watched them get married and now they have a baby boy. so maybe we've just been lucky? x

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    2. I'm glad it's always been a positive experience, as well it should be. It does look like it's not TOO remote because you have a picnic table which looks permanently placed.

      I don't know anything about Joshua Tree except for its funky musical mecca-thing/scene and, of course, U2 (1987, the record album; unforgettable). Being a native, why haven't I been there? Add it to the bucket list.

      I saw something on TV that Brit rocker Eric Burdon (spelling?) of the old classic ('60s) poprock group, The Animals (you probably weren't born yet), revers Joshua Tree and I think has a home there. He was interviewed and said something about Joshua Tree being the place where he can't wait to get off touring/the road to get back there and it's how he prepares, by being in the special vibe of Joshua Tree, to then go back on the road, i.e. Joshua Tree sounding like a place to go to if you need to recharge your batteries. So, what is it, the air, the light, the spirit? Probably the rest of us can't know until we go there and experience it for ourselves.

      Had to grin over the soles of Larry's feet; looks like mine. (The podiatrist told me he actually advocates bare feet when safe because it strengthens the foot and helps balance!)

      Thanks for an interesting post with the usual great photos.

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    3. it is all those thing vicki...the air the light, spirit and mostly the stillness.
      that's funny you noticed lars feet b/c that's the first thing he said when i showed him the photo! lol

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  30. Well I'm no camper but I could do a night with you. Spontaneous? Me? I'm always reluctant to leave my garden. My neighbor pulled together an overnight camping trip last weekend and I felt a flicker of envy.

    Bet her camp sight didn't look as nice as yours but I'm sure there was waaaay more beer.

    xo J

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  31. Hi Janet
    I just forwarded theses pictures to my husband and son. They absolutely LOVE the west (we are driving out there from Vermont in August to help move our daughter to Phoenix for Medical school). I can't wait for them to see these camping pictures. It couldn't be more different from our campsite pics in the mountains at Smugglers Notch. Your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.

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  32. loved this piece, Janet. One of your best, I think.

    I have been thinking of asking you a question and hope you don't mind.

    what product or type of product would you recommend as a make-up remover? I am trying to switch away from soap. I don't wear too much make up...a bobby brown foundation, blush and a little mascara.

    Thanks a million for any help you could give me, Janet. You were the first person I thought of to ask. donna

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    1. donna i use a few drops of olive oil mixed with a few drops of water and rub it in small circular motion. this acts as a pre-cleanse. just wipe it off with a soft cloth and then you a v gentle liquid cleanser. target sells a knock-off of cetaphil which is a gentle liquid cleanser that works well. i also use the olive oil as my moisturizer and also a primer if i'm applying foundation. does this help? email me if you need more info...janetkorff@gmail.com

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  33. just thought of a funny thing my mom used to say about camping, and other such vacation suggestions:

    "I'm not going anywhere that's not nicer than the place I left."

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    1. that's funny. one of the things i really love about camping is how soft i get to make my bed. and i know this is going to sound weird but i think it is cleaner than a hotel room. i use my linens and pillows mixed with the fresh air just seems so clean to me. i'm a weirdo.

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    2. thanks for the facial cleanser advice. I think I'm on the right track. I just started using coconut oil and love it and I do have a cetaphil-like cleanser that I use as well....so I'm not as far off as I thought! thanks a million for helping me along the way, janet.

      and I totally agree about your 'camping bed' being so fresh and clean. not weird at all...donna

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    3. You are not weird. I've had similar thoughts over the years. When I traveled with my family as a kid, we always stayed in motels on the road because my dad refused to camp out, saying he'd had enough of it as a foot soldier in the Army during World War II. Think about it, you go to lie down in bed and you're pulling up a comforter or bedspread that somebody else had been laying on or being covered up in just that morning before they checked out of the room. Yuck. I'm sure back in those days they weren't washing those big spreads every time they changed out linens for the next guest because the motels would have no vacancy each day due to all the families taking road trips/summer vacations (I'm talking interstates, the chain motels along the highways) and the maids could barely get the rooms cleaned up before somebody else wanting to book the rooms; sometimes we'd have to wait a couple of hours for a room to get cleaned even though we'd already paid for the room (we kids didn't care; we'd just go jump in the pool!).

      I have a blogging friend who has noticed how grimy some of the laminated menus are at chain restaurants lately, too. She said it makes her question how clean the utensils and plates are; oh dear, though, are we becoming germaphobes? One of my doctors says she wipes down restaurant tables with her hand sanitizer before seating herself; this is a bonafide doctor of internal medicine. I guess we won't even get into public restrooms here in the discussion...

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    4. they say the dirtiest thing in a hotel room is the remote control. think about that!

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  34. Hi Janet, I love the desert and that looks very peaceful. I enjoy spontaneous trips as well, but with an 11 yr old we usually plan. Well be staying in Indio first week in August and we can't wait! :-D

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    1. i understand that. larry used to spring impromptu trips on the boys all the time - but boys always seem to be up for that sort of stuff right? he'd have that truck packed with gear and as many boys that would fit and i'd have the weekend to myself. i never complained. x

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  35. We visited from Australia in January and spent a wonderful day at Joshua Tree. My 11 year old son told me it was the best place he has ever been to in his life and is going to bring his own son there one day when he is 11. I made him promise to do this!
    Lynne

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    1. that's so interesting bc when i think of australia i think of desert that looks a lot like Joshua. i hope his dream comes true too! i love it.

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  36. Beautiful Janet , reminds me of home, South Australia, this post reminds us that we all need to stop for a while and enjoy our surrounds - you look wonderfully relaxed :)

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kindness is never out of style.

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