Climb Smart - Joshua Tree


I got to catch the tail end of the Climb Smart event this past weekend at Joshua Tree. The event took place at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground outside of the national park. When I arrived Saturday night, the sun had already set, but I was determined to capture some night shots of this awesome campground where they host kid's camps and private events. They have a gorgeous outdoor (obviously) astronomy theater in which presentations and movies were screened during this event. Hans Florine, a record-setting climber and Outdoor Research athlete, was one of the presenters, who I later met and photographed for Outdoor Research at one of his climbing clinics. All the outdoor retail vendors set up their booths beside the small desert lake of this campground. They decorated with lights, which reflected beautifully against the lake at night! For Caraway and Co, my friend Traci demo'ed Evolv shoes and Outdoor Research gloves and jackets to the event goers before they headed out to the park for their clinics. She also set up cornhole (with Prana chalk bags instead of bean bags) and a rope coiling contest to win some awesome schwag from Prana.  We found some serious climbers to show us their best butterfly coil-and yes, they got bright pink Prana headbands as a reward, which they wore proudly. 

After the event was over, we put away all the shoes, easy ups, tables, games and banners-which let me tell you is a lot of hard physical work and I'm always surprised that it all fits in her work van. But it does! It was actually quite funny, covered in dust and dirt, hauling the heavy pieces into her van...the two of us tend to find humor in almost every situation. And now it was time to go find a campsite in the park. We found an awesome one in Hidden Valley. We set up our adorable tent and got to scrambling up on some rocks to capture the amazing desert sunset. I've still got a lot of fear when I climb up that high on those rocks. Sometimes I am not sure I will ever improve more in that arena. But as Traci likes to point out, the key word, is more. I have already improved. What makes me so sure that history will not repeat itself? 

Our friends joined us at the campsite that night. The moon was incredibly bright, which is great if you forget to bring lanterns, but not so great if you were hoping to take photographs of the stars. Two of the girls slept under the stars that night and were able to see everything that went on, including a couple coyotes that came to check up on them...probably wondering why they weren't sleeping in those colorful rocks that humans normally bring with them. 

I woke up early to watch the sunrise. It was spectacular! That light filling in on the rocks is breathtaking. As a photographer, it's all about light. And there really isn't much better light than the kind you find at the desert. Specifically, this special desert. I know I'll be back again soon. 

Shani LeeadComment