spotlight on joshua tree | kristo torgersen.
Name: Kristo Torgersen
Hometown: Old Lyme, CT
Where do you live now? And why? Ventura, CA. For work and waves.
Describe yourself in 3 words or less: Tall outdoor kid.
\What gets you out of bed each day? NPR, coffee and a sunny horizon.
How often do you get out to Joshua Tree? Half a dozen times a year, mostly from October through April.
What makes Joshua Tree so special? As a climber, there's so much rock to explore and discover. Every time you top out on a rock formation, there's inspiring views of boulder piles spotting the vast desert landscape. Just being amongst the boulders, with a bit of food and water for the day's outing, makes life feel primitive and simple.
Your ultimate Joshua Tree weekend? A caravan of friends, circled up at our favorite secret camp, scrambling around the desert under a full moon and telling stories around the fire until the wood has burned and the cooler's empty. Then morning coffee, snacks and gear in the pack, and climbing routes in the park all day until catching the sunset from the top of something, watching the shadows of the J Trees grow long, and the rocks glow orange. Drive to town for a well-earned feast, a resupply on wood and beverages, and repeat.
Where should we set up camp? The best-established campsite is Hidden Valley Campground, with central access to everything in the park and plenty of hikes and climbs within walking distance. Next best would be Ryan Campground or Sheep Pass Campground. Sites are often full, so rolling up after dark is a risky move, and being friendly is key. Ask around to see who's leaving that day to get dibs on their site, or take advantage of the two car per site limit by asking folks with one car if you can share the site.
Favorite hike? I can't say I’ve done any established hikes; that would be hot and flat. J Tree is rad because of all the rocks, so go scramble up something! Find a pile of rocks that inspires you and find an easy passage to the top.
Best place for breakfast? The Natural Sisters Cafe. Great smoothies, muffins and eggs. Healthy fuel that won't slow you down.
Best place for beers at sunset? If you're a climber, the "Space Station" above Hidden Valley Campground is the raddest sunset beer anywhere. For the non-climbers, there's an easy scramble up the backside of the Cyclops Eye (walking distance from the Hidden Valley Campground) with epic views. I'd suggest something in a can.
Any hidden secrets you can share? There’s free water at Coyote Corner... the rest you'll have to discover.
And who is inspiring you? Everyone having an adventure.
Life motto: You don't know until you go... and sorry for partying.
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