Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us that celebrate, Thanksgiving 2020 will be a subdued, small group affair. COVID seems to have the upper hand at the moment, and large gatherings are to be avoided. For us, that means just our household unit will be gathering around the dinner table. But that doesn't mean we should be any less thankful. Quite the opposite, because we are fortunate in so many ways!

So sharing some recent skies with you from the Coyote Hills area. I promise to take you back out to the desert with my next post!
Smoke ring!

Giant cargo ships waiting their turn to enter Long Beach Harbor.

Rain on the left, blue skies on the right!

For those of you celebrating, wishing you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Walking to Indian Cove

Do you ever forget to post stuff, and the photo files get buried on your computer's hard drive? Happens to me all the time, and such is the case with this post. I made a 6.5 mile round trip hike to Indian Cove in June of this year. As I was reviewing the photos, I checked my blog just to be sure I made the post. Sure enough, nothing posted. I wonder how many additional hikes I've photographed that never saw the light of day??


Perhaps one of the most notable things about the Indian Cove area are the rocky peaks. They are beautiful in the late afternoon sun. Even better, I can hike to them right out my door. It's not a short hike, but even so, I'm so fortunate to have this scenery close by. I've posted about this area multiple times (most recently here).

Mojave Yucca (above) are very common in the Indian Cove area. Joshua Trees not so much. The elevation isn't high enough for them to be at their best. In the photo above, I was having fun with my fisheye lens.
About 2 miles from my house, there's this very nice shelter (below).
Here's the view from inside looking out. It's a beautiful, shady shelter and it has a nice feel to it. There are lots of signs of Native American life in the Indian Cove area, but I can't find anything here. No rock art, no slick, smooth area on that rock in the center (i.e., signs of grinding), and no pottery sherds. Even so, I know I'm not the first to rest in this shady, cool shelter, and I strongly suspect its use dates back to Native American times.
Yin & Yang rocks. I wonder if they were a single rock millions of years ago, and just weathered and split?
This is such a quiet, serene hike that I'm surprised when I come around a corner and can see the views of 29 Palms off in the distance. It feels much more remote. Did you notice the red barrel cactus growing on the rocks?
Scanning the rocks, I think I spot something that looks like a little cave or alcove. The shot above was taken with a telephoto lens. With the naked eye, it was much harder to spot. Let go take a look.
A beautiful little cave! Easy, level entrance. Let's go inside for a closer look.
It's quite a nice view looking out the front "door"!
Little critter #1: Antelope squirrel

Little critter #2: Desert cotton tail

Little critter #3: Quail
This particular quail is actually the "lookout" for the covey of quail in the area. He was on this high point and being very vocal, no doubt letting friends and family know of danger (me) nearby!
Looking north

Looking south

Everything along the base of the far mountains is part of the 29 Palms Marine Base.
Time to put on the headlamp as it gets dark out. I'm only about 15 - 20 minutes from home. That area that looks like water is actually solar panels. They're quite popular in the desert, and you are only seeing a small section!
Thanks for stopping by for another desert adventure!
Stay safe and stay healthy.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Times They are a Changin'

Saturday was about as good as it gets. The weather seemed to mirror the big changes going on in our country. On Thursday the high was 94, and we were coming off 3 months of record-breaking heat and mostly cloudless days. By Saturday, we had a new president, we barely made it to 60 degrees, and we had our first rain in a very long time. Oh, and USC won their first game of the season. Like I said, as good as it gets!

The Times They Are A Changin'

The storm clouds were beautiful and I couldn't resist heading out to take some photos. I wasn't in the desert, so things probably look a little different than my usual posts.

Clouds, clouds, lovely clouds!!

Pretty fall colors, and a large bush full of these reddish leaves that really stood out. As I removed a leaf, rubbed it between my fingers and then placed it to my nose to smell the scent... wait, no, just kidding! Leaves of three, let it be. I thought this might be poison ivy, so I kept my distance.

Downtown Los Angeles... about 25 miles as the crow flies.

Rain cells visible looking toward the ocean.

I was rained on just slightly. The sun was going in and out behind the clouds, with some blue sky clearly visible. Beautiful!

Not a desert shot, but prickly pear cactus is common in the area.

Following the trail back to the car. Yup, definitely not the desert!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Sunrise Hike (Part II)

I'm continuing on with my Sunrise Hike in East Joshua Tree post. By now the sun had been up at least an hour and I was starting to feel human again. This absolutely huge rock formation, when viewed from the side, looks like a profile of a human face. Specifically, an old man with a big nose. Do you see it? It looks like he's talking to that little rock... may be giving him some sage advice?

What did Papa rock say to baby rock??


Because the sun was still low on the horizon, I was able to capture this nice sunburst through a rocky arch I came across. I used an F-stop of f22 to accentuate the sunburst. I don't fully understand the physics behind it, but a stopped-down aperture (small opening) seems to enhance a sunburst.

The interesting circular patterns in the rock are called tafoni or honeycomb weathering.
Are those teeth?? It's like being inside the mouth of a giant!

Chicken head??
So interesting how the rocks erode into weird shapes in this part of Joshua Tree. Look closely and you can see the moon.
I found a heart! 💖
This rock sticking out looked impossibly fragile and delicate. As if it would totally crumble with the slightest touch. I didn't test my theory.
Cool opening in the rocks. It actually looks just big enough to crawl through, but I decide not today. I can see the headlines now: "His body was found years later, just his bleached bones wedged in an opening among giant boulders in a remote wilderness area of Joshua Tree National Park!"
I wonder how many thousands or millions of years that huge bus-sized boulder has been wedged up there??
Below are some additional rocky openings/arches I came across on today's hike.

My last discovery of the day was this interesting little rock shelter. It provided deep shade and a nice flat rock at the entrance to put my pack and water bottle on. I wonder how many before me relaxed in this same shelter? A smoothed-out area on top of the rock makes me think that Native Americans might have used it as a grinding stone.
View from inside the shelter, looking out!
Thanks for joining me on another desert adventure!
Stay safe and stay healthy (and stay patient!).
Linking with Skywatch Friday.