Travels in the SW – US -day 4

day 4 – part one

Camping at the Mojave National Preserve changed my idea (born of interstate travel) about boring deserts forever. The Mojave Preserve was totally enchanting. I’m tempted to devote more than a single post to the surprising beauty I found.

Mojave-0089Approaching the fringes of desert country, spotting Joshua Trees and Cholla Cactus and mountains in the distance.Mojave-0095Add in some Yucca and we’re off to a good start.Mojave-0108The RoadRunner seemed to be a theme throughout this trip. 🙂Mojave-0109The sticker and broken window (in the previous picture) were found in the tiny town of Inyokern on the way to the Mojave Desert. Mojave-0110After brunch, we did a bit of window (chain link fence?) shopping. A friend had been looking for a clawfoot bathtub. We rather hoped we’d found one for her, but wondered how we’d get it back to Oregon?Mojave-0113Creative spirit alive even in Inyokern. Mojave-0124Arriving at Mojave Desert National Preserve.Mojave-0136Cholla… being careful because everything seems so prickly, albeit beautiful when viewed up close.

The cactus of the high desert is a small grubby, obscure and humble vegetable associated with cattle dung and overgrazing, interesting only when you tangle with it the wrong way. Yet from this nest of thorns, this snare of hooks and fiery spines, is born once each year a splendid flower. It is unpluckable and except to an insect almost unapproachable, yet soft, lovely, sweet, desirable, exemplifying better than the rose among thorns the unity of opposites. 
Edward Abbey “Desert Solitaire

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39 thoughts on “Travels in the SW – US -day 4

  1. My father’s idea of a splendid time was to hang canteens off our necks and go off for a picnic in the Arizona desert. I see more beauty as an adult than I did as a child. Thanks for the memories, Gunta!

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    • So happy to oblige with the memories. I think the desert needs a more mature energy to absorb its beauty and charm. Very easy to overlook in any case. I loved Mojave so much that we camped there again on the way home.

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  2. Warm and wonderful. It still amazes me how much life there is in a desert. Had to laugh at the broken window with the security sign. Not much security in that, is there? 🙂

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  3. Good thing the cholla didn’t jump at you! (I read a mystery series in which a character met a gruesome death in a stand of cholla, otherwise I would not have known about their rumored ability to “jump”.) Really enjoying these photos, and glad you enjoyed your trip. Day 9 notwithstanding – waiting to see what you saw then.

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    • Eric told me about a true story where an ATV accident landed a guy in one. Apparently they had a heck of a time getting the dude into the ambulance. He was covered in the stuff and pulling them out is apparently very painful. So glad you’re enjoying taking the trip along with me.

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    • Totally enjoyed my days in the desert except for a few spots when it got a bit hot. I wasn’t too far from your neck of the woods when we zipped up 95 from Yuma to Lake Havasu. Perhaps that was a bit more like your desert stuff. Yuma and Quartzite didn’t exactly thrill me. 🙂

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      • Yeah, I’m dreading the “hot” part, too…and Yuma, from what I’ve seen, is pretty much an arm-pit…so it’s easy to understand how you weren’t exactly thrilled down there. 🙂

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        • Yep… ‘armpit’ describes it pretty well alright. But that wasn’t the worst stop by a mile… I’ve yet to get to the 9th day of the travels, which was pretty awful. I’m not giving it away just yet. 😉

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  4. Spectacular! It’s on my list of places to visit. This world of ours is amazing, isn’t it. And we are so lucky to be so close to so much of this amazing natural beauty. I tell you, since I’ve arrived in California, a week doesn’t go by where I am not simply grateful to all the powers that be for being here. Thank you for sharing these amazing shots!

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    • California is filled with many wonders. There are times when I miss living in the Sierras, but then Oregon has a lot to offer, too. Seems there’s just a fantastic abundance of good choices. Yes, we’re very lucky indeed.

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  5. Darn, another blogger that I follow posting beautiful photos of the desert! 😉 The only time I have seen the desert was July in Texas, and it didn’t appeal to me at all, must have been the wrong time of the year, but it was for work. I think that I’m going to have to revisit the desert, during winter, if it’s half as pretty as in your photos.

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    • Oh, Texas in July must be utterly deadly! I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere near a desert in the summer. I just don’t do well with heat. But it’s pretty wonderful this time of year. If you’re really lucky, you might catch all the cactus in bloom which is a very special sight.

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  6. The desert does look totally enchanting. I’ve lived in some very arid places in Australia and there can be a great deal of beauty to discover. Your pictures are showing this, Gunta. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jane. I was utterly enchanted and I’m glad it shows. I had hoped for some cactus blooms, but we might have been a wee bit early for that, or there hadn’t been enough moisture.

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  7. I love the irony of the security company advertising across a broken window, and in fact, breaking the security company’s advertisement…

    Looks like you had a delicious time! Reminds me of our years in NM.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this wonderful series, Gunta.
    I love experiencing a totally new landscape through your lens. This is the type of desert I’d never get to see myself.
    That Cholla looks to be a dangerously prickly cacti. Not one I’d like to get close to.

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    • Well, I did zoom out for the shot. Wasn’t about to get too close. Luckily the dog didn’t sniff it either. I had enough with a Husky who thought it a good idea to bite into a porcupine years ago.

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