If you've been trying to get a hold of the Sierra Club's Military Families and Veterans Initiative in the last few days, I apologize for not getting back in touch. I have spent the last couple of days on adult recess out in Joshua Tree National Monument with a couple of good friends, one a fellow veteran from Vietnam and co-founder of Activets. The other, a fellow traumatic brain injury adaptee and helluva climber, Chris Wiegand. After all, we are Mission Outdoors and if we're not getting outside--why should you?
Like any good officer or NCO, you shoudn't ever ask your troops to do something you wouldn't!
If you have not been to California’s high desert, pack up the car, grab some water, and head to Joshua Tree National Park.
The park is sort of like a Toys-R-Us for climbers, only better. However, there is plenty of great hiking in the area, as well as good class three and four scrambles if you do not want to rope up. The climbing has been amazing, the climbers we’ve met have been incredibly hospitable and its out here where I’m reminded just how amazing of a nation we have. For just 10 bucks a night, we’ve been able to sit under one of the clearest skies I’ve seen in a long time and listen to the coyotes yip and howl late at night.
We’re hoping for another day of climbing tomorrow, but right now are sitting out a near freezing rain shower in one of the local coffee shops. Joshua Tree used to get 10 inches of rain through the 70s we’ve been told, but now averages about 5 inches annually; all the more reason not to shave out here.
While it is frustrating to have a day inside and ultimately under the tent canvas and not climbing, it is equally amazing to be in the desert when it rains. The desert smells differently and you can almost hear the Joshua Trees laugh at their rare shower. Speaking of people who may take showers rarely, its been great to see the number of Marines in the park. With 29 Palms Marine Air Combat Center just down the road, I wonder what else we can do in the Park for the marines in the area and their families? Please get in touch if you have any ideas or good contacts at 29 Palms.
The other great thing about J-Tree is how accessible it would be for those climbers in wheel chairs. What do you think Sierra Club Nation? How can we make this happen for our adaptive climbers, the local Marine Corps, and well…all of America?
Looking out now towards the Park, towards the unique vistas and funky Joshua Trees that will force you to smile, I’m remind again: this is what I fought for; this is the freedom that I sing about in our patriotic anthems. Thank you America for Joshua Tree! Thank you America for keeping our public lands public!
Time to head to the tent….
~OIF Veteran and Military Families and Veterans Representative to the Sierra Club
Ensuring those who served experience the freedom of the land they defended!