Joshua Tree Retreat


WeMoveQuoteJoin us for a weekend of camping, relaxation and light hiking in Joshua Tree National Park!

MEETING: All participants must attend a meeting at Wardance Training Center prior to departure. The time(s)/date(s) have yet to be determined, but when they are set in stone – they will be listed here. The official itinerary, pack-lists, and other important information, etc will be discussed. Participation in this logistical detail is mandatory. If you are unable to attend this gathering, please inform us as soon as possible so that we can try to make other arrangements!

The General Plan:
Friday, November 14th: Depart from Wardance Training Center, drive to Joshua Tree. Once we arrive and set up camp, we’ll go on an afternoon hike before returning to the campsite and settling in around the campfire. Hungry? Winner-winner-Chicken-dinner!

Saturday, November 15th: Rise with the morning sun, but wake up with some gourmet coffee. We will break our fast with a bit of a splurge… wait for it… pancakes – OHYEAH! Don’t worry though, because we’ll need the energy to spend the entire day on our feet – hiking, exploring, participating in custom workshops and general jollity. Lunch: a middle-of-nowhere picnic. If the ants don’t carry us away, we will play a bit with our camera settings and find good spot to watch the sunset. Dinner on Saturday – Turkey-Gumbo! It’s in season.

Sunday, November 16th: All good things must come to an end – but we don’t need to bug out so quickly. We’ve reserved this day to drag our feet. Once we pack up the campsite, we’ll have most of the day to grab another hike or, perhaps, hit some of the more touristy spots in the area. Let’s leave this day open and see what strikes our fancy!

We’ll drive back sometime that afternoon, returning to Wardance Training Center. Hopefully we’ll be ready to return to our urban lives, feeling refreshed and reset, although – sure – probably a bit tired and wanting our comfy beds and a steamy shower, but also satisfied and enriched by our experience together in such a striking and alien environment.

Getting There

Where are we going?
  • Joshua Tree is quite isolated. It’s between a whole-lot-a-nothin’ to the West, a little-more-but-not-really-anything to the South; and some interstates through the desert to either side. This is important because cell phone service may be spotty, making communication and impromptu group coordination more difficult.
  • The closest towns are Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio to the West, and Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms to the North
  • The closest town, Joshua Tree, has a population of approximately 7,400, and has plenty of amenities to support the tourest population which visits the nearby National park.
  • To the South is the Salton Sea, a 15 mile x 35 mile saline lake created by an accidental “over-diversion” of the Colorado River which overwhelmed a California Development Company irrigation project in 1905. To the west is… well, nothing.
  • 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Protection Act of 1964, which created Joshua Tree National Park. Happy Birthday dear Joshua!
Where is Joshua Tree National Park?
  • From Costa Mesa: Joshua Tree is pproximately 120 miles due west – without traffic, about a 2 hour drive. Basically, we’ll take the 55/91 to Rt. 60 through Moreno Valley to the 10 South, past Banning, and through the iconic Windfarm in the pass between the San Bernardio Mountains and the Santa Rosa/San Jacinto Mountians. From there, we take Rt. 62 through Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley, to Park Road into Joshua Tree National Park (link to map)
Car Pooling
  • We plan to have a van to transport everyone and their gear.
  • Please note, the train will leave on time.
  • The departure time & location, and any individual carpools to the “launch point” will be arranged at via the logistics meeting.

The Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground

JumboRocksCampIf you’re looking for a campground full of great sites, easy access to trails, and big huge boulders to climb when you step out of your tent, Jumbo Rocks Campsite is the place to be. Most of the sites in this campground are incorporated into the rocks, with some even on the rock formations themselves. Most have a fair degree of privacy, although some are crammed because of where they’re located.

  • There are 124 sites, all on a first-come first.
  • Campfires are allowed, unless there is a Wild Fire Danger advisory.
  • Campsites do not have much shade.
  • There are toilets, trash receptacles, and picnic tables at the campground, but no showers or fresh water.


Because we will be “car camping”, our tents and group gear can be left at the campsite each day. However, each person should have and carry their own personal gear in a small day-pack – while storing their excess clothing and whatnot in their tent. The expected weather conditions will be discussed and a ‘check-the-box’ style pack-list will be provided during the logistical meeting.

Personal Gear:
  • Hiking Boots or an old pair of sneakers
  • Comfy Day-Pack
  • Refillable Water Bottles/Hydration Bladder
  • GOOD Socks (+ carry an extra pair)
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • Small Personal First Aid, TP
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen & Lipbalm with SPF
  • Sleeping Bag (Not provided)
  • Sleeping Pad (Not provided)
  • Pillow
  • Travel Mug

Group Gear:
  • Tents (Provided)
  • Cooking Gear (Provided)
  • Food (see Menu item below)
  • Water (Provided)
Extra Gear:
  • Extras (laces, batteries, contacts, etc…)
  • Map/Compass/GPS
  • Hiking Poles?
  • Camera? Watch? MP3?
  • Bandana? useful
  • Earplugs? For sleeping.
  • Small Knife, Matches

As the saying goes: USE LAYERS!!
  1. Base Layer: Your base layer should be made of merino wool (popularized by brands such as SmartWool, Ibex and Icebreaker), or synthetic fabrics (such as REI MTS, Capilene, PowerDry and CoolMax polyester). Rather than absorbing moisture, these fabrics transport (or “wick”) perspiration away from your skin, dispersing it on the outer surface where it can evaporate. The result: You stay drier even when you sweat, and your shirt dries faster afterwards.
  2. Insulation Layer: The insulating layer helps you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Polyester fleece, merino wool and goose down are excellent insulators. Polartec 100, 200 or Thermal Pro polyester and other synthetic insulations such as Thinsulate provide warmth for a variety of conditions. These are popular insulators because they’re lightweight, breathable and insulate even when wet. They also dry faster and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than even wool. Classic fleece’s main drawbacks are wind permeability and bulk (it’s less compressible than other fabrics).
  3. Shell Layer: The shell or outer layer protects you from wind, rain or snow. An outer shell is an important piece in bad weather, because if wind and water are allowed to penetrate to your inner layers, you begin to cool off. Furthermore, without proper ventilation, perspiration can’t evaporate but instead condenses on the inside of your shell. Obviously, your shell layer should be roomy enough to fit easily over other layers and not restrict your movement.

Before & After the Climb
  • We suggest that you wear a set of comfortable clothes in the car on the way there, change when we arrive, and reserve that same car outfit for the ride home.
  • Each night, change into and sleep in your base layer for the next day.
  • Insulation layers and shell layers can be worn more than once, so don’t bring more than you need.
  • Pack your clothes in a small duffel bag, and your technical gear in your daypack.
  • Bring sandals, or something kind to the feet, for around camp and in the car.
  • Bring a small towel for freshening up (i.e. bird-bath style) or using the shower facilities.

An Example of “Layers”:
  • Base Layer: Polypropylene Underwear & Under Armor Wicking T-Shirt
  • Insulation Layer: Light-weight Fleece Pullover & Synthetic Zip-Off Travel Pants
  • Shell Layer: Warm Jacket/Rain Shell
  • Peripherals: Sun Hat


A list of prospective hikes and activities will be presented at the logistical meeting. From there, participants can decide which workshops they prefer and how active or educational the retreat will be.

JTreeWillTrekPossible workshops include:

  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Cooking for Camping
  • Grave Digging 101
  • Compass Navigation
  • Yoga
  • Desert Photography
  • Scavenger Hunt

Possible hikes/activities include:

  • Skull Rock Trail
  • Lucky Boy Vista-Quen Mine Loop Trail
  • Ryan Mt. Trail
  • Willow Hole
  • Bouldering
  • Looking for a Cell Signal
  • Just kicking back and hanging out

Once everyone makes their picks, the ‘official’ itinerary will be listed here!

Getting Home

Off Road Vehicle

  • We’ll depart when we’re ready on Sunday.
  • We’ll head back basically the same way we came.
  • Food – If we need energy or maybe just a cup of joe for the road, we will likely stop and pick something up. (Not included)
  • Fuel – Food for the car, we almost certainly need to fuel-up our ride.
  • We’ll drive into the sunset. Literally. :)


To download a map of Joshua Tree National Park – CLICK HERE


The menu will be close to what is below. While the meal plan is fairly certain, there may be minor changes if, for example, a horde of ants decide to launch an expedition into the cooler. Also, we fully understand that our menu may not please EVERYONE – however we are doing our best given the budget, limited space and the dietary limitations that we know of. While we’re open to suggestions, we’re simply not be able to accommodate everyone’s individual preferences.

Lastly, we will endeavor to provide real, natural and healthy foods (as opposed to processed, preserved or freeze-dried) whenever practical. (Marshmallows excepted)

Friday Snackaroonie
  • Roastbeef Sandwich. Mmmmm.
  • A handful of Nuts
  • A big honkin’ Banana. Ooh la la!
  • Wait… what kind of retreat is this?
Friday Night – A romantic fireside dinner. Awe, isn’t that *special*
  • BBQ Chicken! Buh-gawak!
  • Grilled Vegasauras-Rex(s)
  • A healthy brain can’t abstain from our whole-gain carb campaign! COUS! COUS! *ahm* excuse me!
Saturday Morning – A little something for the soul…
  • P-P-P-P-Pancakes! Woo-Hoo!!
  • Fruit basket pickins’
  • Coffee/Tea (Keep that pinky up!)
Saturday Lunch – A good ol’ fashioned picnic.
  • Veggies
  • Crackers
  • Cheese
  • Hummas
  • Sticks
  • Dirt
  • Etc, etc.

Saturday Dinner – Rib Stickin’ Turkey Gumbo!
  • Gobble-gobble mutha-clucka.
  • Don’t worry, not too spicy.
  • Don’t worry, it’s okra free!
  • Merriment and grocking of glogg.
  • The who in the what now?!
Sunday Morning – “B-Fast Burritos”
  • Egg & Potato
  • Salsa & Cheese
  • Did someone say sriracha?
  • Coffee/Tea
The Sunday Snack-off
  • Leave no-trace camping: Pack it in. Eat it so we don’t have to carry it out.
  • All leftovers are fair game
  • Extra points for originality and audaciousness!


ConquerOurselvesThe total cost for this retreat is $159.00.

It includes:

  • Transportation to and from Orange County
  • All permits and campsite fees
  • All park entrance fees
  • All meals (Fri PM – Sunday AM)
  • Fun activities all day long
  • Some peace, solitude and escape
  • The ultimate retreat to reboot before the Holidays!!!

There are currently 5 spots remaining.

Spots will be allotted on a first-come first-served basis. An Early-bird discount of $25 will be applied for those who pay on or before Wednesday, October 15th. Should you need to cancel, a 50% refund will be made if your cancellation occurs prior to 2 weeks before our departure, however after that we will be unable to offer any refund.

To arrange payment – CLICK HERE NOW!

Important Message

On Safety:

SnakeSignJTreeThe SAFE return of every participant is the first priority.

Entering the wilderness can be unpredictable and dangerous. Prepared and experienced individuals have become gravely injured, and even died, in Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area. Should someone in our party become sick or injured, it is expected that all participants will assist in facilitating our own extrication or rescue.

All participants are expected to obey Joshua Tree National Park’s Rules & Regulations.

All participants will be required to sign a liability waiver.

Click here to return to the Joshua Tree General Information Page.