Last weekend was Labour Day weekend here in the USA which means we get an extra day off (if you are in the UK this would be described as a Bank Holiday Weekend).

We decided to take our 1969 Travel Trailer (Caravan) for it’s first trip following the sprucing up we gave it earlier in the summer and decided on an area we have enjoyed before; Joshua Tree. This time we would be camping and we were also to be joined by some friends for the weekend.

We managed to get out of work early on the Friday and set off as soon as we could. Unfortunately just as we were preparing to leave a large brush fire started in the mountains close to where we live and the freeway we were about to get on closed so had to find an alternative route. I guess it was lucky we weren’t already on there else we would have been stuck for ages (not to mention the danger from the fire itself). The alternative route wasn’t much longer but being a long weekend was packed with other travellers trying to get away from ‘the valley’ for the weekend. So what could be a three hour drive was five hours.

Oh well it was good to get away anyway… we needed a break.

We arrived at the RV park we had booked (Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground) just before dusk. We got ourselves set up without only a little bother and with only a slight need for torches; The water heater took a little encouragement to light and the water feed wanted to leak every where.  In the end though we were in good shape before our friends arrived in their modern RV. They are a little more experienced in this caper and were set up in no time.

It was too late for photography so we had a light supper of sausages before turning in for the night.

All set up

Saturday morning we had agreed to take our friends into the Joshua Tree park and go on a hike; we chose the Wall Street Mill trail.

Starting out on the Wall Street Mill Trail

I had two cameras with me; my Pen-F digital and my new favourite film camera the Bessamatic with the 50mm lens attached. I had decided to make this weekend an opportunity to attempt to write an article for the World on Film website which has recently started up and the Bessamatic was going to be the source for pictures in that. This meant that I would need to keep switching in order to get pictures for my blog as well as for the article as they needed to be separate.  So these are all digital shots.

Wind pump
Pump at base of windmill

The trail was easy going and had plenty of photo opportunities. We somehow strayed from the path but found our way back eventually.

Abandoned building (just off route)
Abandoned building
Abandoned vehicle hiding in the bushes
This is the third vehicle we saw all from the early part of last century, amazing they are still there (and with shiny chrome!)
We didn’t see any Tortoises but there was other wildlife to spot
Is it me or does this rock look like Jabba the Hutt?
The Mill itself which is fenced off
Another water pump, this time powered by steam
Steam engine to drive the pump

This was an out and back hike rather than a loop so there were second opportunities to explore things we had seen on the way out and get different angles (and light). Being the only photographer in the group I tried not to hold everybody up else we would have been all day.

Yeh he he hey booboo!

Hike done we left the park in search of a late breakfast in the town of Joshua Tree which we found in ‘Country Kitchen’. It’s a small place serving traditional American fare – good food I can definitely recommend.

More of this trip soon…