palm springsthe great outdoors

Hiking Picnic on Geology Tour Rd in Joshua Tree

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CreminelliFreshSnacking #CollectiveBias

If I could list my favorite things in life, outside of the obvious, charcuterie boards and the great outdoors would be at the very top.  I spent what feels like all of my amazing childhood outdoors, so maybe that is why it still is my happy place.  If I’m indoors, I’m itching to get outside into the sunshine, go for a hike and spend all night stargazing in ultimate bliss.  …and charcuterie boards, don’t get me started on my love for cheeses and Italian meats…  This past Sunday, I mixed the two on a day date with husband, hiking and snacking around Joshua Tree National Park.

I feel very fortunate to live so close to Joshua Tree, which is truly a unique and beautiful landscape.  I definitely want to note that Joshua Tree is not (by a long shot) the only amazing wilderness destination in the Mojave Desert.  In fact, with Joshua Tree’s hipster status, it can often be really overcrowded in certain picnic areas/campsites.  There are unique rock formations and bristled Joshua trees all over the vast desert.

Other options: Mojave Trails National Monument (twice the size of Joshua Tree), Castle Mountains National Monument (remote and up against the Nevada state line), Arthur D. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park (only 80 miles from DTLA and next to more popular Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve), Centennial Flat (one of our favorites and also ACTUALLY where the U2 cover Joshua Tree is… spoiler, it’s dead – but still there.  Also, you can get a spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from here).  So most definitely go to Joshua Tree, but don’t forget to mix it up with other scenic spots.

This weekend I hung a right onto Geology Tour Rd, which is right off the main road from the north entrance.  For some reason, I’ve never turned down this road before, which has been a mistake as it contains lots of deserted, gorgeous landscape down there.  I didn’t even see another person.  After a certain point (after stop 9 I think), you really need to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle so keep that in mind.  No camping here, but plenty on either side of the road.  If you drive the full 18 mile loop and grab the pamphlet at the beginning, you can stop along the way and learn all about the park’s history and there are lots of photo opps along the way.

We pulled off and parked at stop 4, grabbed our packs and headed out.  On our way into Joshua Tree, we stopped at Starbucks in Yucca Valley for coffees and charcuteries because that’s how I roll on the trail.  Trail mix is for amateurs!

Like I mentioned before, my love for cheeses and Italian meats runs deep.  I was excited to find Creminelli Fine Meats™ Felino & Manchego Sliced Charcuterie Trays at Starbucks and grabbed a couple packs for our hike.  When I head out hiking in the desert, I always slide an ice pack or two into an interior pocket of my hiking backpack.  This keeps my foods/water/everything else cool – good tip for those visiting our hot region this summer.  The heat can get so intense that it shuts my phone off so the ice packs aren’t just for food!  Sunday, we hiked and climbed for about an hour before we decided to stop and bust out our snacks.

I’ve organized many an elaborate picnic but most days, it’s a keep it simple stupid situation.  That’s why these Creminelli Fine Meats™ Felino and Manchego Snack Trays are so perfect.  While picking up my coffees at Starbucks, I can just snag a pack or two and throw them in my pack.  They are definitely perfect for any on-the-go situation.

Are you familiar with felino?  Felino is known as “the king of salami” and this one from Creminelli is so divine.  The cracker-ready felino features hints of nutmeg and pepper which pairs unbelievably well with the manchego, made with Spanish sheep’s milk.  When your energy starts hitting low, these classic combos on a cracker is just the protein pep you need.

It’s a good thing I brought energizing snacks on this day hike because…

…our day hike eventually turned into a night hike.  My husband is a photographer by trade so you know he is always thinking about photo opportunities.  One of his recent passions is astrophotography and the desert is a great place to practice.  With no one around, no lights, no sounds, Joshua Tree NP is perfect for stargazing and snapping images of star trails.   A Joshua Tree sunset is no slouch either.  A one point, the sky was a literal rainbow of colors.  This was my favorite time of the sunset, where the sky was turquoise and the horizon was glowing a warm yellow.

While we were busy admiring the sunset, the moon was rising behind our backs.  We didn’t notice until we had packed back into the car and pulled out onto the road.  Of course, Neil had to pull the car over and bust out the tripod to take the moon’s photo.  In person, it was so huge and so brilliant.

If you’re a fan of charcuteries, you need to check out Creminelli Fine Meats™ Felino & Manchego Sliced Charcuterie Trays sold at Starbucks.  Each slice is hand packed into recyclable trays that are convenient enough for road trips and hikes.

If I’m going to be totally real with the guys, we devoured two packs of these trays on the trail and when we were driving back home to Palm Springs, we stopped back in Starbucks.  Did I buy another tray?  I did.  The quality is so high and the flavor so perfect, I just couldn’t resist.

Creminelli Fine Meats™ Felino & Manchego Sliced Charcuterie Trays  are sold at Starbucks in the refrigerated section with other snacks and lunch items.  Keep in the know with Creminelli on Facebook and Instagram.

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