Joshua Tree Solo Retreat - Boon or Bust?

Oh brave, brave Stephanie on her 50th year Jubilee Adventures! I wrote about Stephanie a while back as she and one of her friends were early bird bookings for the Mayacamas Ranch Paleo Reset Retreat. Her friend Joni won the free week and Stephanie decided to make her retreat visit one of her once per month 50th year "Jubilee Adventures". You can read about them both in my previous blog post. 

I was also honored when Stephanie chose the Solo Joshua Camping Retreat as another one of her Jubilee Adventures - and well, what an adventure it turned out to be! This is the time of the year to visit Joshua Tree! Normal temps are between 70 and 80 degrees and sunny during the day and nights in the 40s. Summer is too hot to visit the desert so this would have been the perfect time to visit. Alas the California El Nino crept all the way into Joshua Tree this past week with relentless winds (gusts reaching up to 60 miles an hour), clouds and cold temps. Stephanie had just left a few days in Palm Springs with her hubby where they enjoyed lovely accommodations and 80 degree temperatures . When I picked her up to bring her to her site, the winds were picking up and the clouds were rolling in.

Oh! She had a lovely site with a tent tucked between classic giant Joshua Tree boulders, but when it's cold and the fierce wind is whipping around your tent blowing in dust, no amount of anything will be of comfort. Luckily Stephanie has strong faith, was up for adventure and decided she wanted to stick it out - even after I assured her I would be happy to take her back to the comfort of Palm Springs. I also explained that the conditions were some of the harshest my husband and I had ever encountered while camping. Truly, relentless dry desert winds and temperatures in the 40s during the day and into the 30s at night - not pleasant. She really did stick it out and ended up having some profound insights while she was there. Hard not to when you're huddled in your tent with howling winds and wild animals sniffing around your tent in the middle of the night.

On the last full day of her retreat, the winds died a bit and the sun came out and it started warming up. I joined her for a lovely hike called the "window rock loop" and we laughed about the crazy conditions and got a bit of exercise in. I am so very happy that Stephanie embraced the hardships of being alone in the desert and walked away thinking it was both a horrible and amazing experience at the same time. As she said midway through her retreat she was reminded of something she had just read - about grapevines not needing too much water - all the better for letting their roots go deep. In facing challenges and hardships when we are truly uncomfortable and perhaps a bit frightened we learn a lot about ourselves, our faith and our beliefs and if we can weather through the storms without giving up, our roots will indeed grow a little more deeply.

Thank you to my now dear friend Stephanie for staying and letting your roots run deep.

UPDATE: See Stephanie's guest blog post about her experience here: