Happy One Year Anniversary, My Love.

It has been one year, on new year of my first visit to the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park. The first time I visited Joshua Tree was with friends from Hangar 18 for a bouldering trip during the New Years (’10). Since that day I probably been back to Jtree 50+ times. Jtree has been the home of many climbing firsts for me:

      • First Trad climb following up with my first trad partner

      • First Multipitch climb

      • First Trad lead (which lead to my worst lead fall…. but also that single lead climb that lead to my love for trad climbing)

    • Buying my first trad rack and breaking that baby in at JTree


    • First time learning top rope soloing

    • First free solo

So many precious firsts, and everything thereafter.




Starry Nights in Hidden Valley Campground

Its not just a place for climbing for me, it really is a spiritual place. Im not the super hippy “one with mother earth” yea bru type of chick… its just something about JTree that brings out my hidden inner hippy. I know its there, because every single time I drive out of the park I leave with a gigantic smile on my face.  Jtree became my place of self reflection and the breeding ground of my ever growing independence. I begain to take many solo trips out to Jtree (hiking/climbing). Every quarter, after finals week I become mentally and physically drained/exhausted; still I somehow manage to drive an hour and 30min to Joshua Tree. After spending a night by myself under the bright stars in hidden valley campground I feel so rejuvenated, its magical. The fall quarter of 2010 was my most stressful finals week, physics class raped me. I took a hike out to lost palm oasis during the week, no one was there besides a few old folks. 205049_10150533520120554_722490553_17870178_7224958_nAbout a few miles in the elderly walked back to their cars and I was alone. 8hrs and 6.7mi later I found myself sitting in the a water oasis in the middle of Jtree eating spaghetti out of a Tupperware. I cant explain what the hell happened, but hiking out there on my own really helped me from the worst finals week in school & also alleviate stress about a shatty relationship that broke me.





I will also appreciate all the climbing trips Ive had with friends. I believe that climbing can bring people closer faster than anything. Ive created some of the strongest friendships from people i’ve met out at JTree. I cherish the good times, and respect all the friendly foreigners i’ve come into contact with.
163150_10150335385550554_722490553_16022033_422690_nHappy New Years to all,

-Natalie Duran