Monday, March 20, 2017

The Flowers Are Poppin' in Joshua Tree National Park

We took a drive down to Cottonwood the other day to see how the flowers were coming along. We stopped at Porcupine Wash on the way, explored around the rocks there and saw some nice displays with the potential of more to come. Then we headed to the area down by the 10 and the fields on either side were chock full of blooms. The Lupines were the biggest I've seen in years, some up to two feet high, and Poppies everywhere, also Chia on the eastern side of the road. When we got back to the car, our shoes were covered with pollen after wading amongst the Poppies, and we were trying to be careful not to step on anything. We stopped in a side canyon on the way back to have lunch in the shade of some rocks and saw Chuparosa and Canterbury Bells along with Brown-eyed Primrose. The flowering at this point is all the way up to Twin Tanks, so there is plenty to see, with more to come in the next couple of weeks. We saw all these flowers in one afternoon: Lupines, Poppies, Brown-eyed Primrose, Chia, Chuparosa, Chicory, Mallow, Canterbury Bells, Phacelia, Brittlebush, Bladderpod, Desert Dandelion and a bunch I don't know the name of. So get goin'!

 Field of Dreams

 Poppies Forever

 Poppies and Lupine

Chia and Dandelions

Monday, March 13, 2017

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is Greening Up!

I got up Saturday morning and headed over to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve to see if there were any early flowers along the Mesquite and Canyon Trails. After a wet winter it was nice to see the Cottonwoods leafing out in all their glory, but no major flowering yet. I guess we have to wait for another week or so for things to start popping. I ended up walking the Mesquite Trail, down the Canyon Trail and even up on top of the Yucca Trail, where you get a nice overview of the Preserve. I never get tired of going to the Preserve at any time of year, there's always something new to see. It's such a peaceful and serene place to take a stroll, listen to the birds in the trees and feel the breeze on your face. We're so lucky to have this special place here in the desert. I tell people, when Joshua Tree National Park is busy, head over to the Preserve, you won't regret it.

 Overview from Yucca Trail

 Looking Across the Field Along The Mesquite Trail

 Winter Copper Color Fading To Lush Green

 Feathery Green and Trees

Looking Back Toward the Distant Hills

Monday, February 13, 2017

Having Fun at Jumbo Rocks

The other morning, I thought it would be fun to go over to Jumbo Rocks and try some double exposures there. The rocks in that area are ice cream-like, melting shapes, so I thought they would lend themselves to this kind of imagery. I bouldered around for a couple of hours and came up with some nice ones. It's always fun to see the 'familiar' in a different way. (Click on to make larger)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Amazing Views of Pinto Basin With Fantastic Clouds Along The Lost Horse Trail Loop

This is one of our favorite hikes in Joshua Tree National Park, a good six miler. You start out in the parking lot and walk up 2 miles to the Mine Site through rolling hills with wonderful views along the way. Once you get to the top of hill above the mine, you begin to descend down through these craggy rocks with amazing views of the Pinto Basin. This is my favorite part of the Loop Trail, I couldn't stop taking pictures, the light was fantastic. From here, it's about 2 miles down to the valley floor on the other side and another 2 miles back to the parking lot through a lush forest of Joshua Trees. All in all, a good workout. I have to say, this time we were really pooped when we got back, as we hadn't been doing any long hikes during the winter. It was hot showers all around and a nice nap for me of course!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Desert In My Mind-Double Exposures at Hidden Valley

I'm always trying to see Joshua Tree National Park in a different and unique way, so the other morning I got up early and went over to a favorite spot in Hidden Valley where there are some great rock formations. I'd been thinking about this idea for a while and figured this was a good day to experiment. I spent the whole morning doing double exposures of the rocks and Joshua Trees there. It's a real hit and miss technique sometimes, but I think I came up with some nice ones.