Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009 from Joshua Tree National Park

Beside my glove is a tiny foxtail cactus that will grow from a two-inch ball to look like a fluffy (but prickly) foxtail.

(Joshua Tree National Park, December 2008)

The week before Christmas, Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree National Park were blanketed in white by one of the biggest snowstorms ever. Not much snow was left when we visited the park a few days after Christmas, just drifts at the side of the road. The park also wasn't as full of visitors as usual because of the cold weather, about 45 degrees that day.

William and I drove to the end of Stirrup Tank Road near Wilson Canyon and hiked a few hundred feet up to the top of a huge rock formation with a clear view of the park. By the time we reached the top I took off my gloves and unzipped my jacket. The silence, huge blue sky, and the view were amazing. Pure heaven!

Hiking down a steep, rocky path can be more dangerous than going up. William and I reminded ourselves to put the toes of our boots down first and to avoid patches of loose gravel. I came across fresh scat from an animal that looked to be a large one, and I started thinking about mountain lions. For all the serenity the park provides, it's still a wilderness! We were out of cell phone range, and the only people for miles around.

We kept a lookout and made it safely down the trail to the car. In 20 years of visiting the park I've never seen a mountain lion but it's a good idea to be aware.

Take a trip out to our beautiful deserts and enjoy the clean air and beautiful views. The wild animals you'll likely encounter will be jackrabbits or roadrunners.

Happy New Year and have a fantastic 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008--more Joshua Tree National Park snow

(Joshua Tree National Park, 2004)

(Jazzy, 2008)

We're going out to the park--hoping to see more snow this year!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter snow--Joshua Tree National Park

(JTNP, December 2004)

It snows in the park every once in a while, not what
many people expect to see in the desert. It's beautiful while it lasts!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

desert literature events

Saturday, December 13, 2008
1:30-4:30 PM

Class A302 Desert Literature - Stories and Lore of the Coachella Valley

Education Center, Living Desert University/Living Desert Reserve, Palm Desert

Instructor: Ruth Nolan, M.A., Assistant Professor of English at College of the Desert

Ever wonder how the Coachella Valley got its name? Interested in the stories of our valley's early pioneers, the celebrity influence on shaping our desert as we know it today, and the centuries-old legends and contemporary stories and memoirs of our local Native American inhabitants? This lecture and discussion will focus on the literature -- excerpts of fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, tall tales, legends, and Native American stories and oral tellings - of our local and surrounding desert areas. The lecture will combine slide show, reading, lecture and discussion to give you a desert literary experience that will enhance your understanding and knowledge of our unique desert.

For more information or to register, click here.

and... for more desert literature...

Trapdoor Poetry

invites you to a poetry reading

Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008
6:00 p.m.
Mike Cipra
Caryn Davidson
Joshua Tree Park Ranger-Poets
there will also be an open microphone

Palm Springs
Wine and Art Gallery
242 No. Palm Canyon Dr.,
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Thanks to Ruth Nolan & Steve Peterson,
Poetry Series Coordinators!
More information :

Saturday, December 6, 2008

coolio license plate art--July 2008:Patriotic sights Part IV--the Smithsonian

("Preamble" by Mike Wilkins, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., July 2008)

In 1987 Durham artist Mike Wilkins created this art piece made from license plates to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. I thought it was pretty cool. It reads:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Monday, December 1, 2008