Joshua Tree Nat’l Park

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I visited Joshua Tree Nat’l Park last week for the first time. With 794,000 acres of “moonscape,” the park sits on the flyway to and from Los Angeles. Only 140 miles separate the two. The geography beckons hikers, rock climbers, birdwatchers, photographers, stargazers, and of course, the curious. The Mojave Desert covers the western half with elevations above 3,000 feet. Where mega boulders stand atop one another. Where the slow-growing Joshua tree lives into old age. Where rapellers get an adrenalin rush. And, where travelers like me are wowed by the vistas.

Done with Thanksgiving

Let me tell you why I am done with Thanksgiving. Meal planning, grocery shopping, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cleaning the house, and arranging flowers add up to a week of self-imposed oppression. Those long-gone Pilgrims and Wampanoags gave thanks for a harvest. I do not harvest anything, not even water. Duck and venison were cooked over an open fire and men actually participated. Times have changed, and duck is way too expensive.

Today I created the perfect Thanksgiving meal and did a modest amount of work. I roasted a half turkey breast, made bread stuffing the way my mother did, and Frenched some green beans. When our Champagne lunch on the patio ended, Richard and I drove to Catalina State Park. We walked the Canyon Loop trail and passed many hikers who also cherished a beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon. I am done with the sit down and stuff-your-gut-be-thankful-dinner. Let me celebrate every feast day by enjoying the great outdoors.