Pack The Bus | Joshua Tree

We've partnered with PACK THE BUS (Hunter and Hannah) to visit 18 National Parks in the United States and document the journey. First stop: Joshua Tree National Park.

A blog by Hunter and Hannah (@packthebus)


Arriving at a National Park that is familiar to us felt good and overall, comfortable. Joshua Tree is the closest park to our hometown of San Diego, so it’s the one and only park that we’ve visited a handful of times before. Familiarity was a much needed feeling as we began the transition into the unfamiliar lifestyle of living in a van.

As we drove through the park with the first light of dawn, the Joshua trees in our rearview mirrors were nothing but silhouettes on the barely lit horizon as we headed to our viewpoint destination: Skull Rock.


The bus was left along the road near the trailhead as we took a short walk before climbing up some of the grippy rocks and laid out our blanket before setting up to watch the sunrise over the large granite formations this place is known for.


Seeing the sun light up these boulders one by one as a pink sky began to turn blue felt so peaceful as we gazed over the landscape covered in Joshua Trees and Mojave Yucca. We began to take in the striking uniqueness of where we were. Our hands are scraped and chalk remains under our nails, but we couldn’t be happier.


This place was difficult to leave. Although we checked off all the activities on our list of things to do, from sunset hikes to afternoons spent on ropes climbing rock faces, there is a magic to Joshua Tree that makes you want to stay forever. We head east, excited for desert scenery we have yet to experience together down unfamiliar roads, knowing there is so much more ahead of us.

As we drive through these various landscapes in our 1970’s VW bus that feels like a moving time capsule, we smile thinking of the many decades people have been enjoying these parks and gain appreciation for what we’ve preserved and the history behind it. We are so eager to continue learning and appreciating nature as we set out wide-eyed through this country to take in all we can with our little air-cooled VW to carry us through it all.

Hunter & Hannah 

Next Stop: White Sands National Park

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