Thursday, March 30, 2017

Looking for Pottery Sherds

So I was out hiking with my wife and granddaughter a few weeks ago looking for something called "Surprise Tank" in Joshua Tree National Park. We never quite made it to the Tank (an area where water pools after rains, often used by Native Americans, and later dammed up by the early ranchers in the area), although I did get a glimpse of it from a distance. However, while exploring the area, I ran across some old pottery sherds during my hike. They were terra-cotta in color, thin-walled, and it looked like a pot had been dropped and shattered into pieces. Who knows if that's what actually happened, but that's how it appeared. I'm still kicking myself today because I was in a hurry and didn't mark the location on my GPS app. I mentioned it to my friend Pat, who was very interested, and I promised to go look for it next time I was in the area.

Fast forward to last Sunday. During a return hike to the area, I thoroughly crisscrossed the hiking route from my previous trip but was unable to find the pottery sherds (dang!!!!). However, all is not lost. It's a beautiful area with blue-blue skies and I took a lot of photos (a few of which I'm sharing below). I also made it to Surprise Tank (topic for next week's post). So without further ado...

The Joshua Tree above seems to be telling me which direction to go!
Once you reach the rocks, there are a lot of "desert nolina", most of which were flowering. To my eye, the nolina can be easily confused with the mojave yucca, but yuccas have leaves that are much more rigid and pointy and do more damage if you step into one!
 Question mark nolina! Native Americans roasted and ate the flowering stalks, and the leaves were commonly used to weave baskets.

Alien life form?? The flower on this nolina appears to be just ready for blast off!

Climbing up on the rocks, I had a nice view of this little valley on the opposite side that's pretty much surrounded by rocks. I think that's Ryan Mountain in the background. I spotted that little depression in the top of the rock (center-left) and wondered if it might be a mortar. But no, an impractical location that is too difficult to get to. Must just be a natural depression in the rock that weathered that way over the millennia.


California juniper. The light blue berries are very distinct and contrast nicely with the green plant.


I discovered this little cave-like area between two huge rocks. It felt a little like a miniature slot canyon, and it looked like years and years of water erosion had created it. It was just big enough to climb through!

I only spotted this little guy because he moved. A great example of cryptic coloration, I think he's a Blainville's Horned Lizard. I've never seen one like him before, and I think they are rare in Joshua Tree.


Linking with Skywatch Friday.
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Thanks for stopping by!!

44 comments:

  1. All fabulous shots--- the joshua trees appears to be exhaling some sort of smoke--- you don't suppose that's why he's bent? Love your posts.

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  2. Wonderful, your photos are always very impressive.

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  3. all gorgeous images but i really like that last capture.

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  4. I always love your vivid desert colors.

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  5. ...what an interesting and beautiful landscape.

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  6. Wow! Those dessert nolinas look amazing. Just as every post, your photos are Magazine worthy, all so beautiful! I really really hope I can see Joshua Tree National Park when I visit California again someday soon. Wishing you all the best from the Philippines!

    Steve

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  7. Too bad you couldn't find the pottery shards again but the desert has a was of hiding its secrets. Beautiful photos, though!

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  8. I've found pottery pieces in the middle of nowhwere in the Utah desert and mortars and some arrowheads in Utah.
    Great little place you found. It still looks pretty snakey to me. I love the little slot canyon you found also. And the deep blue skies.

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  9. The sky is just the perfect shade of blue. That small slot canyon is a great find.

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  10. Raw nature in all its glory beautifully captured!

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  11. Beautiful shots from the national park.

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  12. Beautiful images.The blue sky certainly is a welcome sight.

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  13. Wonderful pictures, great landscapes!

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  14. Wonderful shots. I love that last one.

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  15. how on earth did you spot the lizard? I did not see anything but rock until I read there was one.

    It looks like snowballs on the Jupiter tree.
    So many interesting images shared today. Thanks!

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  16. I love your desert adventures.. your images are so wonderful, always look forward to your posts.

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  17. fabulous shots and landscape. I think it was your shots and posts that gave me desire to visit desert. so, if I make it once more to the US, I surely plan to visit one.

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  18. Isn't blogging fantastic? Every week, thanks to your super photos, I am immersed in the heart of the desert, such a wonderful place and alien to me!
    Love being able to enjoy the sights and skies through your posts! Thanks so much!

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  19. Hello, I love seeing the tree, plants and the flowers. Beautiful blue sky. The lizard was a great find, it is cute. The last photo is just gorgeous. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

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  20. Amazing place. Thanks for all pics.

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  21. Very very nice!!I love the settings and the nature :))))

    Beautiful pixtures of the landscape ,sky and surroundings

    thanx for sharing ..also linking to Pat which is also a great blog

    Thank you!

    Anita

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  22. These plats seem to me so exotic! And I can feel the heat from your pictures. The spring is still on it's way, today it was raining something between snow and sleet. Your pictures brings a little bit of summer here :)

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  23. What can I say! Great post and stunning photos as usually! I love your desert photos

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  24. Adore and appreciate your wonderful desert excursions. Thanks!

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  25. Thoroughly enjoyed. Reminds me how my Eastern friends thought I photoshopped my skies when I was in the Desert Southwest. Also...when we were kids, we called them horny toads. I bet that cracked up the adults.

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  26. Stunning captures ... love the shapes of the rocks.

    Happy weekend ahead!

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  27. That horned lizard certainly IS a great example of cryptic coloration (a term I never heard, but am pretty sure I know what it means ... I will google to get the nuances).... but anyway, yeah, I didn't see it for the longest time even after you said it was there -- I just stared at the picture wishing I could see movement -- but I finally did find him.

    I hope you find the sherds your next time, but what beautiful consolation prizes you got with these amazing views and that mini-slot canyon. wonderful hike.

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  28. As always, you take great photos that are very interesting. Love the rock formation and the plants growing in that area. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  29. As always, beautiful scenery and beautiful captures.

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  30. Amazing landscape, and your photos are breathtaking!

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  31. Beautiful as always and how you spotted the animal despite its moving is beyond me with such camouflage.

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  32. Gorgeous sky in each shot and love the cave and the critter find ~ thanks,

    Wishing you a Happy Weekend ~ ^_^

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  33. Absolutely beautiful images. Nice that you saw the camouflaged lizard, it took me a few seconds to recognize him in the photo. Thanks for the tour.

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  34. Wow the countryside there is amazing and so beautiful. - That little lizard certainly was camouflaged.

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  35. What wonderful photos. I love the last shot, with the rock tethered to the sky. And the camo lizard. Great other-worldy post.

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  36. I am always blown away by the stunning landscapes, big blue skies and amazing rock formations!

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  37. What amazing beauty you have captured in a stark place! I love your blog picture... the wonderful skies and desert...and the old relic in the foreground. Stunning contrast.

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  38. wow very cool spot, is that wild heather growing in one of the photos?

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  39. WOW, grandissime foto spettacolari... amo ciò che fotografi e come lo fai !!! Magnifiche !!!!

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  40. Gorgeous photos Pete! I can't wait to get out to that area. It appears to be larger than I thought. Shards or no shards, it is so beautiful.

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  41. Lovely warm colors and amazing rock scenery!

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