Weekend Getaway: Joshua Tree and Rosa Muerta

Weekend Getaway: Joshua Tree and Rosa Muerta

Gregory Han
Dec 8, 2008

Invited by architect Robert Stone to stay over at his desert luxe-camping shelter, Rosa Muerta, Emily and I spent a refreshing weekend out in the outlying area of Joshua Tree where sparse development met the desert wilderness. The weather this weekend was brisk with a threat of showers, and we only had a single evening free in our busy schedule to getaway. But what a getaway it was, giving us an opportunity to escape the urban hubbub for the peace, solitude and grandeur of the desert landscape in a most unique dwelling. All in all, the two days we spent out in Joshua Tree was a refreshment to our parched souls, quenching us with an almost drowning sense of quiet and relaxation...

As I'm sitting here typing this I feel like part of me is still left in Joshua Tree wandering though canyons of gigantic boulders that seem like the forlorn ruins of an ancient gigantic race, exploring desert flora and fauna with Emily in the great expanse of the National Park, and also enjoying the relaxing solitude of the Rosa Muerta vacation rental. The home itself is part luxe accommodations and one part camping trip, as the structure is open in sections, allowing the desert air and sky to seep in. We prepared with plenty of blankets and warm wear, but being at least used to camping/hiking activities, a kitchen, a firepit, warm bed, open ceiling shower and most importantly, a jacuzzi made our stay less about "roughing it" and more about appreciating what this weekend getaway destination had to offer: tranquility.

Owner/architect Robert Stone greeted us upon arrival, and his friendly concern about the comfort of our stay was something we noted and appreciated (he was worried about the impending cloudy-cooler weather, but it only led to a more dramatic desert sky and stay). And how bad could it be when we could spend a good deal of our time soaking in a HUGE jacuzzi? The whole Rosa Muerta structure balances a sense of solitude and open exposure to the elements, something we certainly appreciated upon first glance upward into the star-laden skies (we even got to wish upon a falling star!). An outdoor firepit kept us warm for hours as we just listened to the occasional dogs barking in the distance and we shared a home cooked meal of roasted corn, onion and feta pizza.

With nearby Joshua Tree National Park just around the corner, we were torn between living it up and getting lost in nature, so we compromised and split our short time 50/50, appreciating both the creation of humankind and nature's hands offered us. The desert landscape is all about the dramatic sky, which can change in an instant from blue to black, and also the earthen pastiche of textures and colours just beneath your feet. We spied a family of adorable Antelope ground squirrels, a Loggerhead shrike, a regal looking American kestrel, a wandering coyote and the remains of one its meals (a half-eaten jackrabbit).

We had a fantastic time, thanks both to our stay at Rosa Muerta and the wondrous landscape of Joshua Tree. Rosa Muerta is an absolute steal of a rental if you reserve with a couple of other friends; the place is for all practical purposes designed with partying in mind despite our more reflective and placid time there and we're already planning to come back with a few friends during warmer climes.

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