Monday, April 28, 2008

more wildflowers and a critter... Joshua Tree National Park

(desert Iguana)

(the drive home from Joshua Tree National Park on Highway 62, Mt. San Jacinto in the background)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coachella 2008--April 25, 26, 27

Coachella (the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival) is three days of music and art at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California. Hang out and listen to alternative rock, hip-hop, and other genres of music, and peruse large sculptural art. Continuous live music plays on several stages set-up around the grounds.

The weather's hot--over 100 degrees--so bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. Over 60,00 people are expected to attend each day. This year's acts include Prince, Roger Waters, and Death Cab for Cutie.

For more info, click here. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

more wildflowers

The wildflowers are blooming in this banner flower season in Joshua Tree National Park and all over Southern California. California poppies (the state flower) grow along the freeways and roadsides.

On our way out to the park we stopped at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley and drove the loop through Pipes Canyon and Pioneertown, where old Westerns were filmed. I discovered a wildflower I'd never seen before: wild rhubarb. It looked like a pink tuberose.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rockin' for Joshua Tree Benefit

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, check out this event in Pioneertown near Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree National Park:

The Rockin' for Joshua Tree benefit takes place Earth Day weekend, April 18th and 19th, from 4-10 PM at Pappy & Harriets Palace, called the "Best Honky Tonk west of the Mississippi," in Pioneertown, California. Profits from the fundraiser will go to fight the proposed Eagle Mountain dump.

Rocker Eric Burdon launched Rockin' for Joshua Tree in Palm Springs in 2000. The artists performing at this year's concert include Bobby Garcia, Chris Laterzo & Buffalo Robe, the Hickmen, the New Dead Rebels, Rabbits With Bad Habits, Reallyshooo Zydeco, Shawn Mafia, The Sibleys, and others. Acoustic acts include Ted Quinn, Lance Palmer, JB, Barbara Buckland, Vickie Hill, and Pat Gorman.

There will be a raffle for a stay at the Joshua Tree Rock House and the 29 Palms Inn and for work donated by local artists, a screening of a documentary by Michelle Mazzetti about Joshua Tree National Park and the dump, and a telescope set up for stargazing.

Tickets are sold at the door: both days for $35. Single day admission for $25 with a Friday discount for those 21 and under for $10 (with I.D.).

Check out my posts of February 28th and March 1st to read a two-part interview with Donna Charpied, an organizer of the event and along with her husband Larry, a key player in the fight against the proposed dump at Eagle Mountain.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Poem in Your Pocket Day

This is from

Celebrate the first national Poem In Your Pocket Day! The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 17. This annual poetry day has been celebrated in New York City since 2002.

Here's my poem for the day that I wrote in Boyd Deep Canyon, March 2008:

Dropped into an Ancient Cahuilla Village

My hands are soft
this is the first thing I notice
the soles of my feet are thin
my skin, pale

The people are dark from the sun
the men and children are naked
the women wear grass skirts

I hold out a hand
a token, a sign of peace
a hand useless for this way of life

I must find shade soon
standing in the summer sun
my skin begins to burn

Women move around me
the men stand back
stern faces
that wonder if I am spirit or beast

An old woman smiles
she extends her dark, calloused hand

(Petroglyph Books, 2008)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Part III--Death Valley 2005--a hundred year bloom

Our second night visiting Death Valley we drove all the way to Goldpoint, a Nevada ghost town, to find lodging. We stayed in an old miner's cabin at Goldpoint Bed & Breakfast run by Herb Robbins, alias Sheriff Stone (this, too, is another story...). The B&B was fun, and with good food! At the weekend's end we sadly said goodbye to an unusually lush Death Valley.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Part II--Death Valley 2005--a hundred year bloom

More pictures from Death Valley 2005 during the hundred year bloom... The first night we stayed at the Amargosa Opera House & Hotel (which has a whole other story of its own) in nearby Death Valley Junction. Hotels and campgrounds in Death Valley National Park were sold out that April weekend when volumes of people (including us) descended to see the wildflowers.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Part I--Death Valley 2005--a hundred year bloom

The seeds of desert wildflowers can lie dormant for decades until the right amount of rain at the right time allows them to germinate and flower. In 2005, record rainfall levels in Southern California deserts produced a record wildflower season.

In 2005, Death Valley National Park experienced what was called a "100 Year Bloom." Death Valley's Badwater--at 282 feet below sea level--is normally a salt flat. That spring it filled with with water (about 3 feet) and looked deceptively like an alpine lake. My family and I spent a weekend in Death Valley in April 2005. We saw some beautiful sights!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hi-Desert Nature Museum and more wildflowers

(photos Joshua Tree National Park, April 2005)

Continuing with my spring wildflower theme..

2005 was a banner year for wildflowers in Southern California. My family and I made trips to Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park to see the record bloom.

To celebrate this year's wildflower season, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley is featuring "Desert in Bloom," a display of wildflowers identified with their names, and providing an up-to-date wildflower report of the Mojave Desert. Pastels, colored pencils, and a working space are provided where guests can sketch the wildflowers. Paintings, sculpture, and mixed media art pieces created by local artists are on display as well as artwork made from recycled materials to celebrate Earth Day.

For more information contact the museum at (760) 369-7212 or online here.