Thursday, December 29, 2022

... And a Happy New Year!!!!!


Geology Tour Road, looking north toward Malapai Hill, Joshua Tree National Park

2023 already?? 
Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Happy Holidays!!!!!!


Ho Ho Ho. May your holidays be safe, warm, and happy!
29 Palms, CA
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Thursday, December 15, 2022

"Transmission" by Daniel Popper

 Not far from our desert house is this beautiful art installation by Daniel Popper.
Conceived within the minds of owner Morgan Brown and artist Daniel Popper, she stands a majestic 28 feet tall. Fully realized, she is "concrete" evidence that we are all divine - that we are all one. May we all transmute love, peace, and unity between ourselves, each other, and mother nature. That is why she is here at the Mojave Moon Ranch - to remind us.


She's beautiful, don't you agree? So expressive.
Even Lilly was interested in taking a few pics!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Stirrup Tank

 I've hiked Stirrup Tank in Joshua Tree National Park a few times over the years, but I've always felt like there is so much more to see. So when friend and professional guide Travis said he had a couple spots he would like to show us, I jumped at the chance. By the way, if you're going to be in the Joshua Tree area and you would like a guide, here's how you can get in touch with Travis: I highly recommend him!
Stirrup Tank is known for its interesting rock formations.
Stirrup Tank also has evidence of an ancient Native American presence. These mortars or grinding holes appear to be looking back at me!
We came across these very faint pictographs in a difficult to get to location. I used dStretch to enhance the photo, but it still looks like most of what was here has faded away with time.
These colorful caterpillars were everywhere, to the point where we had to be careful not to step on them. They are part of the life cycle of the sphinx moth, sometimes called the hummingbird moth because of their bird-like size and flight patterns. This guy was about 2" long.
One of the more interesting finds of the day. This huge arching boulder reminds me of one of those kites that the kite surfers use. With a little effort (OK, a LOT of effort) you can climb up to the underside of the boulder.
Here's Roger, off to one side of the boulder, to give you size perspective. It's massive! I was directly underneath the boulder when I took this photo.
And while underneath, fingers crossed that the boulder is wedged solidly in place and that we don't experience an earthquake!
For this photo, I've climbed just beyond the boulder (which is overhead) and am shooting back in the direction we started from.
Not a lot in bloom for this hike, but I do like this one.
... and this one (pencil cholla flower).
Travis standing next to what we think might be the Parks talled Mohave Yucca. They are usually 3 -6' tall. This one looks to be close to 14' tall. Crazy!
Another hike highlight: This absolutely HUGE rock shelter. I'm calling is "skylight cavern" because of the opening in the rocks overhead that lets in plenty of light.
Roger taking a snack break.
You could throw a little party in this cavern & have room for everyone!
This is harder than it looks. I tried to get behind the arch but was afraid I'd never get out again and had to give up. Travis volunteered to pose.
Back side of the arch. The best I could do was stick my camera out in front of me and take this photo. Any further and I would have wedged myself in place!
Hello, Chuck! This big fat chuckwalla lizard kept scurrying away from me just as I was ready to take a close up. It's hard to see from this angle, but he was definitely scoffing at me!
Sun's getting low so time to start our return hike.
Pretty desert skies!
After getting back to the car and picnic area, Travis spotted this scorpion. I'm guessing they are quite common, but you rarely see them because they are nocturnal, and difficult to spot without a UV flashlight.
Thanks for stopping by and joining me on another desert adventure!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, December 1, 2022


 My granddaughter had an early soccer game (8am) and I signed up to help with net setup, so we had to get to the field by about 7:15am (yuck... not a morning person). After helping with the nets, I had about 15 minutes before game time. I noticed what looked like low-lying fog (something I rarely see where I live) along what in the desert I would call a wash, but here in suburban Orange County I would call a dry stream bed. There's a nice hiking trail that follows the stream bed just adjacent to the soccer field.
After taking only about 20 steps beyond the soccer field fence, I came face to face with this guy. Perfectly quiet and still. He (she?) looked at me for what felt like forever, but in reality was probably just a couple minutes. Still, a long time. There was curiosity in those eyes. And intelligence. Not fear, but a wariness about me and what my next actions would be. Was I friend or foe? I finally made the first move to see if I could edge my way closer for another cell phone photo, and he went trotting away into the brush.
You can see the fog along the dry river bed in this photo, which is what originally caught my attention. Seems really odd to me to have the orange glow of the sunrise and blue sky and fog all at the same time. A bit of everything!
With the sun climbing a little higher in the sky, the fog is disappearing fast. It was fun while it lasted, and a treat to come across Mr. Coyote!
Thanks for dropping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Pine City Trailhead

 I was looking forward to this hike for a number of reasons. The Pine City trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a trail I had never hiked, and on this day back in September of this year, my trusty weather app was predicting clouds with a slight chance of rain. So new territory to see and likely some pretty skies.
There were five of us on this hike... a large group by my standards! Travis (far left) is a professional guide and really fun to hike with because of his background and experience. Roger (in shorts) and Mitch (second from right) are my usual hiking partners. Mitch's neighbor Larry, who turned out to be a great guy, joined us on this hike.
I took this photo at about 12noon before even leaving the house. Look at that sky!!
As I recall, we didn't stick to the trail for very long. We kind of wandered toward anything that caught our eye. Here, Roger and I are checking out some red barrel cactus that seem to be growing out of solid rock. Photo credit: Mitch.
The sun was going in and out for most of the hike. In one direction, dark cloudy skies, and in the other, mostly blue skies. 
See that balancing rock in the center of the photo? Let's take a closer look...
Looks like you could push it over (we didn't try).
Amazing how the various rocks erode in JTNP. This looks like a well-built block wall!
Evidence of recent rain.
A narrow arch
Shark rocks!
Chuckwalla lizard skeleton.

Mitch forgot his hat, so he was alternating between umbrella for shade and umbrella for rain. Made for a good photo!
Umbrella for rain.
Here Mitch demonstrates proper technique to keep a camera (or phone) dry while taking a photo in the rain,
Roger models the latest fashion in hiking rainwear.
By late afternoon, the threat of rain seemed to be over.
Small, medium and large.
A prickly situation!
A rolling stone, come to rest here.

Travis has the ability to climb anywhere!

A portal between two rocky ledges.

Boo (again)!!
Hey, Travis!

Late afternoon golden light. Thinking of those people living in colder climes that don't get to enjoy the sun as much this time of year... this one's for you!
I thought I was done taking photos for this hike, but as the sun set behind the hills, I could see a rain cell off in the distance with a nicely balanced rock in the foreground... So back out with the camera and hustle to a vantage point to get a couple shots!

Thanks for dropping by and joining me on this hiking adventure!!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.