One thing I love about Los Angeles is that there are endless things to do. You can go to the beach, the mountains or the desert on any given day. If you’re dedicated, you can even do them all in one day. This year, I decided to leave campus for the weekend to go to Joshua Tree National Park with some friends.

It was only a two hour drive to Joshua Tree and we stayed in an AirBNB near the entrance of the park. What I loved about this trip was how safe and accessible it was for COVID times. The AirBNB was really clean, and traffic inside the park was minimal. During the day, it was rare to see more than 10 people out on the trails. 

I recommend exploring the park at sunset or sunrise. The colors reflect off the desert landscape to create a beautiful hiking experience with plenty of Joshua trees to see. I enjoyed the Cholla Cactus Garden and the Barker Dam Trail for seeing different landscapes within the park. 

If you can not make it to the park during those hours, don’t be scared to check it out at night! The night sky is perfect for stargazing with minimal light pollution and a chance to see the Milky Way. If you are planning a trip for stargazing, try to align the dates with new moons for optimal darkness. 

Staying at home during a virtual semester is tough, but hopefully we can each use this time to see the hidden gems next door. 

Miranda Jernberg

Miranda Jernberg

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Aurora, Colorado PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @_mirandajay On campus, I am involved with Greek Life, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and USC's Latin fusion dance team called Break on 2.