The BLM campsite at Joshua Tree came into view just as the sun was starting to set. Racing against the fading light, we barreled out of the car, ripped off our clothes, and started to pose as Polly snapped away. It was rushed and raw and completely different than the shoot we originally planned, but these candid frozen moments turned out better than anything I could have imagined. No marketing concept or detailed editorial plan ~ just four best friends letting loose in the desert, celebrating the gorgeous female form without concern for leering eyes or the time to scrutinize our bodies’ supposed flaws.
We dropped as day shifted to night and felt time slow down around us. Luckily we got our tent set up before the darkness set in and the euphoria took over, sending us into fits of giggles and rendering our bodies useless. Minutes turned into hours by the campfire, swapping stories, downing Coronas, and laughing until it physically hurt.
Doing anything took an insane amount of effort. Just walking six feet from the fire to the tent proved to be difficult, and god forbid if someone needed something from the car, it turned into an all-out group field trip (it was also just inches from the tent, mind you). We felt safe enough wandering on our own, but it felt better doing everything together.
If you’ve been to the desert, you know you’re dealing with extremes. Unforgiving heat dissipates to frigid nights as the barren landscape stirs to life under the moonlight. Connecting with the desert’s natural rhythm, we found ourselves yo-yoing between our own extremes - first crying from laughter, then letting the tears flow for people we’ve lost way too soon.
In a stirring moment, Polly felt the presence of her late mother surrounding us, her being coursing through the mountains, the trees, the stillness. Candice’s grandma also paid us a spiritual visit and we felt their strong feminine energy envelop us in love and light. Right then I knew these girls would be my sisters for life.
A pulsing orange light in the distance snapped us back to the physical realm - even though it looked like an alien portal beckoning us to an entirely different plane of existence. For a good while, we really thought some otherworldly beings were going to come and invite us to another dimension until we realized it was La Luna making her first appearance over the horizon.
I could’ve stared at that moonrise for hours, but we got distracted by a light show from another camp. Wondering who are fellow desert dwellers were, we debated forever over whether to adventure away from our base to find out. We couldn’t tell how far away they were in the dark and were scared of getting lost, but we weren’t ready to call it a night.
It was confirmed that we had to go after we all started howling at the moon. We broke out in a chorus of hoots and hollers ~ a song that connected all our voices together. Awestruck by the sight of this thing, we couldn't resist the innate desire to vocally show our appreciation. We’d already shared one experience with these people. Why not find out what they were all about?
The “adventure bag” was packed with all the necessities (rolling papers, herb, hash oil, and beer), so we set off across the sand. Bushes and trees popped out from the ground like coral reef and we pretended we were navigating the ocean floor. I was feeling super Pandalicious in the panda onesie Rissi just so happened to have, and the desert was buzzing with new life. Our evening slipped away and with the rising moon, we entered a whole different phase.
Fear crept in when two dogs started running at us. We looked over to see a camp with what seemed like 20 dudes and instantly regretted our decision to venture out.
On closer inspection, there were a few women too and they invited us to hang out when the dogs were convinced that this panda came in peace. They were a big group of friends celebrating an engagement and they were more than happy to share a few beers, j’s, and chill beats. All of the masculine energy was overwhelming to me, so I was relieved when most of the guys went out in search of wood and the girls took a little trip up to the top of a nearby hill.
Before we left for the desert, our friend that works for a CBD2 distribution company gave us some hash oil for our lady parts and told us to use it as we pleased. I think he was hoping for a lesbian orgy to break out, but really he incited a sacred sisterhood bonding session.
Rubbing hash oil on your vagina in a circle of your best friends and a few perfect strangers may not sound like the most spiritual encounter, but as we waited for the tingly sensation to kick in, I felt so connected to the women around me and got swept up in the strength of our divine feminine power.