It wouldn't be the New Year without a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. We used to go hiking there with the kids all the time, heck, they practically grew up in the desert, scrambling over rocks, scaling impossible heights, dining on powerbars while sitting on majestic thrones of giant boulders. For anyone who's ever been there, you know of what I speak: Joshua Tree has a special draw, a kind of energy I haven't found anywhere else in the world.
On the drive out with Tom, I felt lethargic, uninspired, but after breakfast at the Country Kitchen, the Cambodian-run place across from the West entrance, I immediately perked up. We parked at Keyes Ranch and hiked across that incredible expanse of flats and washes, with chollas, manzanitas and Joshua trees, towards Barker Dam, keeping an eye out for the bobcat we saw there once. I walked ahead and stopped, listening: there was absolute dead silence.... then, on the periphery of sound, a jet streaking across the sky, the 'whee whee' of a tanager, and in time, the crunching of Tom's footsteps up to me. I was wide awake and happy. And so— even if our kids aren't spending as much time with us as I'd like, at least they're happy, and here in the desert, we're happy too.
Tom's ideal garden