PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — It was the fall of 1974 when my family took our first trip to Jumbo Rocks campground in the heart of what was then Joshua Tree National Monument. For a 7-year-old boy, I had discovered paradise.
There were boulders as far as the eye could see, snakes and tarantulas hiding in nooks and crannies, and the opportunity to explore the wilderness unhindered by parents and guardians. My cousins and I had the campground to ourselves — we could make forts under oak trees, climb up and over piles of rocks, and run pell-mell through the largely empty campground.
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