Off the Grid is a series inspiring the desire to live a life that's bigger than the shit you put in it. A life of not knowing where you will sleep the next night, a life of spending more time choosing which star to look up at instead of which movie to put on and a life of trying to work out how to solve a problem with what's around you rather than ordering the solution to all your problems on the internet.

Why I love the idea of living life Off The Grid, is it's not a new concept. It's a lifestyle borrowed and inspired from our ancestors, who we probably believed we were smarter than. However, there's a reason why everything old is cool again and why I can never throw away any clothes because of 'vintage'. The same principle can be applied to this lifestyle

Garth's Boulder Gardens, Joshua Tree, California looks like something out of a painting from a time I definitely didn't exist. Garth Bowles started building his 'Gardens' more than 30 years ago down some dirt track roads about 20 mins from Pioneertown. There's little information about it and few people have been but those who visit say it's a sanctuary and retreat for travellers and spiritual healers.

Bowles and dog trying to catch rattlesnake // Photo by Rachel Bujalski

Bowles describes the Gardens as "thriving example of living harmoniously with the natural environment." Bowles has the place so set up that he gets his water from underground wells and the place is solar panelled providing the power to this 640 acre property. Ming Lo, actor and independent business developer recently visited this Off The Grid property and was greeted with open arms.

"I wasn’t even sure if visitors were welcome, so I asked if I could walk around, and one of the gentlemen on the couches pointed me toward a man-made bridge and pool, saying “Most people like to start there.” 

Man-made pool just behind the sculpture // Photo by Ming Lo

Garth's Tipi // Photo by

The outhouse // Photo by Ming Lo

The gardens are full of crystals Bowles has collected over time, including one which his own personal crystal footrest! All visitors are welcome to come see this self-sustaining community and be educated on living a low impact lifestyle. There's also word of the sanctuary putting on quite the drum circle under a full moon!

Crystals // Photo by

Garth's crystal footrest // Photo by

So, if this hasn't made you want to buy some crystals and dig a well under your house, I don't know what will!

Instructions from Ming Lo on how to get to Garth's Boulder Gardens.

Getting There.  

To get to Garth’s, I took Pioneertown Road from Route 62 in Yucca Valley.  Going north, past Pioneertown, I turned right onto Pipes Canyon Road. The GPS had me turn left onto Eastline, right onto Geronimo, left onto Cottontail Road, and a left onto Gamma Gulch Road, which took me straight to the entrance to Garth’s (you will see signs for Garth’s, follow those).  Still, it would have been just as easy to continue on Pipes Canyon (instead of turning left onto Eastline) and then turn left onto Gamma Gulch a bit later.  FYI, the roads off Pipes Canyon are dirt roads, and my passenger car didn’t have any problems.  I’d just be careful if the road is wet.  One other note of caution – I’m not certain that the location for Garth’s on Google is correct, it’s actually hard to tell if we ended up in the location Google would have taken us (at Garth’s, we had no cell reception).  Follow Gamma Gulch and the signs for Garth’s, and you’ll get there. 

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Words // Daisy J Crawford

Photographs // Ming Lo & Lovelightleadsme