Thursday, March 28, 2019

Solving a Mystery

I was looking out the window from our desert house and noticed a peculiar white band at the base of what is called Copper Mountain on the opposite side of the highway. It's probably about 2 miles (as the crow flies). I put the telephoto lens on my camera to get a better view, and this is what I saw.
Any guesses? Snow came to mind, if only for a moment. Much too warm for snow, and why would it be in just this one area? I thought possibly a flower bloom, but dismissed that idea too. Although we are having a spectacular superbloom in the desert right now, the predominant blooms are yellow,  purple or lavender, and orange or gold (not white). So Lilly and I jumped in the Jeep to go check it out.

As strange as it might seem, if you guessed some weird white flower bloom that only occurred in a quarter-mile long band along the base of the mountain, you win the prize!!
As we drove the jeep along this dusty desert road, all of a sudden the white flowers appeared!

A little further up the road, they became even thicker. The soil here is very sandy, and Lilly couldn't resist getting out and exploring the area!

After doing a little research, I'm pretty sure these are called Dune Primrose. The dune in the name makes sense. There are other primrose species, but this one only grows in the sandy dunes or sandy soil areas.

A closeup of the flowers. Beautiful!
It's nice to have a little photo-model to provide perspective. I've seen these primrose flowers before, but never in these numbers!

The Dune Primrose blooms totally dominated the sandy soil areas (hence the "band" of white seen from my house). As you move away from the sand and into rockier soil, other flowers and colors dominated.

Lilly's just a blur, but having fun playing up on the nearby sand dunes! That's Joshua Tree National Park in the background.

So that about wraps up the mystery of the elusive Dune Primrose. Thanks for playing along!!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Crazy Weather, as Predicted

In my neck of the woods, yes, the weather has been crazy. But not unpredictable. I recall reading multiple predictions about weather becoming more extreme... expect winters to be colder, summers hotter, storms more intense, droughts more prolonged. LA's average high temps in February were the coldest on record since the 60's, and the longest stretch of consecutive days without hitting 70. By extrapolation, these weather extremes mean wildfires will be worse as well as flooding during intense thunderstorms. Blame it on global warming. If you don't believe in global warming, blame it on whatever you want to blame it on. The good news is that the drought in Southern California is officially over after more than seven years. Call me a cynic, but I'm willing to bet it will be back!

One result of crazy weather was this new pond in our neighborhood that sprung up out of nowhere over at my granddaughter's elementary school. All it took was a few hours of intense thunderstorms, and presto, instant pond! It's covering part of the blacktop on her playground as well as part of the soccer field.

Within a couple hours of being formed, our new pond came complete with two ducks! I saw no fish.

I guess all kids like to play with worms, and whatever other critters they might come across. Granddaughter Lilly is no exception.

By the next day, things were back to "normal" and the pond was gone (does normal even exist anymore?).
The tree in our front yard has been in full bloom.

Grass is green and skies are blue over at the local park, just the way they are supposed to be!

And I couldn't resist a shot of last night's spring equinox supermoon. We have to wait until 2030 before this happens again!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flowers in the Desert

I hear a lot of people using the word "superbloom" to describe the flowers in the desert right now. To be honest, I'm still not sure if we are having an official superbloom this year. What I do know is the desert has gotten a lot of rain, and there are a lot of flowers if you know where to look. 

This last weekend, we drove through Joshua Tree National Park from the north entrance (29 Palms) to the south entrance (Cottonwood Spring). The flowers are patchy... absent in areas, abundant in others. We found the best flower viewing to be in the Cottonwood Spring area (low elevation). Blooms will probably remain good to excellent and move up in elevation as the season progresses.
Our first stop was at the Contact Mine trailhead, based on a tip we got from the ranger at the entrance kiosk. After just a short walk up the trail we could see lots of yellow blooms, and no crowds. Well worth the stop. It was a rare overcast day in the desert, and the yellow flower color really popped!

Just past (south) of Cottonwood Spring, we noticed heavy flower blooms with a nice variety of color. Blue, yellow, lavender, white and purple seemed to dominate.

My cousin-in-law, Beth, enjoying the beauty (and fragrance) of the desert flower bloom.

The next day, I captured a couple flowers near our house using late afternoon back-lighting:

And by late afternoon, we were treated to another glorious desert sunset!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Desert in B&W

I've said it before, and will say it again... There's something about the desert that lends itself to b&w photography! I've not had a b&w post in a long time, so here are a few, somewhat random, b&w photos. The only thing they have in common is they were all taken in the local desert and all were taken in 2019.
Sullivan Road, 29 Palms, CA. A quintessential dusty desert road!

Majestic Arch, Joshua Tree National Park

View toward the Sheephole Wilderness

View toward the Coxcombs

Mysterious fire ring.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!