I'll be in southern CA in about a week and I've made time for a jaunt out to Joshua Tree NP. I am planning a 2-night solo trip there and seeking some advice. This is my first desert hike. (I know I need to cache water.)
1. Route. My current "plan" is to include the CRHT at least between Covington Flats and Juniper Flats, plus going up Quail Mountain. This probably isn't enough to fill 2.5 days of hiking. One way to extend this might be a loop around the Quail Mountain area, using the CRHT, Bigfoot Trail, ..., Johnny Lang Trail. Thoughts? Other suggestions?
2. Maps. What are the best maps available for this area? Just USGS quads?
3. Shelter. Am I crazy to take just a non-waterproof bivy?
4. Snakes. How active are the problematic ones this time of year? I'm under the impression that the answer is "not that active" and that the severity of an encounter gone bad would be low enough that I could walk a few miles to get help. (Yeah, I pretty inexperienced on the reptile front.)
Thanks in advance for any tips. I'll compensate you in turn with photos and report eventually!