Let's Camp: Ryan Campground JTNP
Last October, I (Kim) turned 30. My 30th birthday wish was to head to Joshua Tree and take a beginners rock climbing course. Being a frequent visitor of this park, I am incredibly envious of all of those dirt baggers that I see suspended high in the air, hanging off of ropes. This just wasn't the year for that wish to come true, due to Andrea’s leg injury. Instead, we decided to go camp and do some easy hikes in Joshua Tree, because that’s all the busted leg could handle for now.
We had an opportunity to try out a new campground since we would be arriving in the middle of the week and wouldn’t have to fight the typical Saturday morning crowds. We headed to Ryan Campground, which is perfectly situated almost in the middle of the park. It sits between Hidden Valley and Jumbo Rocks campgrounds - the two busiest and most crowded campgrounds.
We chose site 31, which is the last site on the way out of the on way loop. It is almost back to the entrance of the campground. It has great views of open desert across the road. Photos above and below show the view from our tent!
I spent the last night of my 20’s sitting around the campfire with my wife, enjoying the quiet of a midweek camping trip, firelight on the rocks and an excellent moon rise over the hills behind this campground.
The night ended, and it was time for breakfast! We’ve tried several different ways to make breakfast burritos for camping. We've tried cooking all of the ingredients over the fire in our cast iron grill. This works great, but it is hot work in the desert sun and requires a tricky clean up at a campsite without water! If the plan is to hang out at the campground for the morning, I could see that working out better. We are normally up and out after breakfast and (lots of) coffee, ready to go on a hike. We've kind of given up on being “campground chef’s” - for now.
We’ve also pre-made all of the ingredients at home and rolled up our burritos in foil so we can toss them on the fire in the morning to heat them up. This works great and is cost efficient, with minimal clean up. But, our favorite way of doing breakfast burritos is heading to our local breakfast burrito places (either Rooster Cafe in Costa Mesa or Nate’s Korner in Santa Ana) and ordering them there. We just request that they wrap them in foil, so we can just throw them on the grill in the morning. Food always tastes better when someone else cooks it, right?
That was the choice for this birthday breakfast - delicious Rooster Cafe burritos, hot and ready to eat in a flash. One of my favorite parts of camping is the quiet of the morning. One thing that I especially love about Joshua Tree is that we can take our coffee up on a rock somewhere, and just sit and watch the desert wake up. It’s one of those things that embodies #whatgivesyoulife for me (forgive the cheesiness). After enjoying our coffee and burritos, my wife surprised me with some hidden birthday presents. One is my now favorite hat from Mountain Standard.
We packed up and headed out to Boy Scout Trail to hike around the Wonderland of Rocks area for a few hours. We stuck to the trail on this hike and just went until Andrea's leg got tired.
On our way home, we stopped for a quick lunch of tasty pizza at Pie for the People. If you are in Joshua Tree and don’t feel like making a meal at your campsite, definitely stop here for pizza by the slice or a whole pie! They are right at the corner of Park Blvd, the main entrance for the park.