Existential Explorations of Rock & Mind in Joshua Tree, CA

An embedded outsider finds calm and clarity in the sun bleached life of the dirtbag climber

Existential Explorations of Rock & Mind in Joshua Tree, CA


Tom Daly


Chadwick Tyler


Sony a7R III

The following photo essay was contributed by our friends District Vision, an emerging experience-driven brand at the intersection of mindfulness and sport. This is not a sponsored post. We simply appreciate their aesthetic and approach to product, and think you will too. Enjoy.

Tom Daly is a New York City-based runner, practitioner of mindfulness, and co-founder of District Vision.

Chadwick Tyler is a Brooklyn-based fashion and fine art photographer.

As we drove passed the Institute of Mentalphysics near Twentynine Palms, CA the sun was rising. Piercing across the sky, it ironically exposed the other main institution in town—The Marine Air Ground Combat Center, the largest Marine base in the U.S., covering just under 1,000 square miles.

The town acts as a gateway to Joshua Tree’s slightly lesser known northern entrance, through which we accompanied six climbers on recent field trip.



Fresh from sleeping in our vans we entered the park munching on nuts and bars with the goal of earmarking the boulders and walls said climbers wanted to test themselves on over the next two days. 

Deep in the park with no people in sight, I felt we’d found an alternate universe. Not geographically, but inside ourselves. Sun bleached figures scurried out of their tents, cooked their food, and conversed freely. Gone were the phones, headphones, and other modern barriers to integration.


"With this came a certain peace. The type of peace that gives you the feeling they might just have figured something out."


These students of the sport had dedicated a great deal of their lives to the climbing practice, and found this alternative life as an expression of that. To an outsider, with this came a certain peace. 

The type of peace that gives you the feeling they might just have figured something out. An operating model in this infinitely more complex society of interconnected people and devices. A healthy choice for the chosen few that might take solace in the words of Krishnamurti - “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." 





Related articles
The 8 Best Joshua Tree Hotels in California's High Desert
The 8 Best Design-Minded High Desert Hotels in Joshua Tree, California

Find your desert basecamp at one of these elevated roadside motels, boutique hotels, and hacienda-style getaways

25 Dreamy Modern Cabin Designs From Around the Globe
25 Modern Cabins for Design Inspiration and Daydreaming

Looking for design ideas? These cabins from Norway to Ohio push the boundaries of contemporary design and are guaranteed to inspire

The 20 Best Designed Joshua Tree Airbnb Vacation Rentals
The 20 Best Designed Joshua Tree Airbnb Vacation Rentals

Dreamy desert cabins, pueblo-style casas, and geodesic dome vacation rentals amid the iconic California desert

AutoCamp Launches Outdoors-Focused Hotel Company Field Station
This New Lodging Company Is Turning Old Motels into Basecamps for Adventure

Instead of Airstreams & glamping tents, Field Station is turning old motels into adventure basecamps with gear rentals and community-oriented designs

Glamping in Southern California: The 15 Best Spots to Getaway
The 15 Best Places to Go Glamping in Sunny Southern California

Explore SoCal's picturesque mountains, deserts, and coastline in these unique tents, yurts, and retro Airstreams

AutoCamp Joshua Tree Brings Luxe Glamping to the CA Desert
AutoCamp Opens its Latest West Coast Location in the Desert of Joshua Tree, CA

Featuring 47 Airstreams and a shimmering new clubhouse, the glampsite celebrates the High Desert with style

More articles
Existential Explorations of Rock & Mind in Joshua Tree, CA

Gallery Mode


Chadwick Tyler


Sony a7R III

Back to article