I appreciated the contrast between J-Tree national park and J-Tree public lands. The national park, as I said, was highly protected, but likewise, paved with roads and parking lots, and because of that, didn't feel incredibly natural. The public lands, on the other hand, was not built up at all, and the road to get back to where the renegade was could hardly be considered a road at all. The only difference was, there was a lot of graffiti. So, paved roads or graffiti? Choose your passion. However, in my opinion, the graffiti present was actually pretty tasteful.
This renegade was perhaps the best of them all.
Where to even begin?It was lovely and tucked far back into the desert lands, with the stage being set up directly in front of a massive boulder field.
The boulder field had the appearance of a play ground to me and before I even found my people, I was scurrying up the rock pile in search of discovery and adventure!
After a majestic sunset, a run in with a few friends that were likewise scurrying around, and a rather sketchy decent down the boulder field, in which I literally walked through cave systems and slid down 30 foot rocks, I was on the ground and immediately finding myself in the company of sweet friends.
One day, D and I went on a scurrying adventure of our own through the boulder field.
After taking deliberately difficult routes (the steepest and most fun to climb basically), we found ourselves pretty high up the boulder field with possibly a few more giant boulders between us and the top. That's when we saw it: An odd shack-looking shed thing (specific I know) tucked into the boulder field in such a way that there could only be a few viewing points to locate it. Unless you randomly stumbled upon it (as we did), one would never see it except from a select few spots. What I'm eluding to is that it was intentionally placed to be tucked away out of site - secret, you might say.
Once inside, more confusion set in. It was barely big enough to fit 2 people, with a small, uncomfortable wooden bench that only half of your butt cheeks could fit on.
There were pictures of kaleidoscopes hung up, with odd sequins, bobble eyes, and art everywhere, including a wall of pink glittered dollar bills. There were also lights strung up, a bucket and ladle, with gallon jugs of water filled up and sitting outside.
Finally, in front of the tiny bench was an odd contraption set up that was hooked into propane cans with extra canisters set off to the side that were actually full. On top of the propane canisters were 2 metal baskets filled with rocks…
It wasn’t until I turned around to talk with D that I noticed this written on the wall by the door:
A fully functioning sauna built over 100 feet up into the boulder field that was miles back in the desert lands? These 2 people, Kitty and Bear, went through a GREAT deal of dedication to build this out and it was actually legit! There was even a metal sign outside that was hooked up to a different gas system that said "LOVE" and would spit fire! SO COOL!
That night at the renegade was so beautiful, insane, and fun! Much like the day had been actually… A million stories could accompany this night but I’ll just give one that stands out vivid among the rest:
Many people filtered in and the dance floor had become a frenzy of movement. I roamed out between the boulders in search of a place to pee, finding many new camps since my last bathroom mission, meaning I had to go out farther for privacy. I rounded a rock, sure this would be the spot (lol), only to find a dude laying down on a rock looking at the stars. He told me he was enjoying the solitude and peace from the music. The stars were clear and brilliant, as most memories I have of the desert night sky are. When I came back I asked if I could join him. We laid down next to each other for a while in total silence, just looking up. Eventually he got up, saying his friends may be worried about him. We headed back to the stage together and hugged before we left each other, giving gratitude for the genuine peaceful moments we shared, in awe of the night sky. I don't know his name and may never see him again, but I'll always remember this and be grateful for him.
With Love and Light,
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