Thursday, December 24, 2009

snow in Joshua Tree National Park--Christmas 2004

(Joshua Tree National Park, December, 2004)

Every so often snow falls on the California high desert... another aspect of our beautiful wilderness!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Keys Ranch--Joshua Tree National Park

(Keyes Ranch, Joshua Tree National Park, November 2009)

Bill Keys was an early resident of the California high desert. From the early to mid-1900's he and his family lived on Keys Ranch--a working cattle ranch--inside of what is now Joshua Tree National Park. The park offers guided tours of the ranch, now a historical site. On a recent tour I snapped these shots of some of the old artifacts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

twilight desert shadows

The sun set around 4:36 p.m. as the light and shadows dwindled...

(Joshua Tree National Park Visitor's Center, Thanksgiving, 2009)

Friday, November 20, 2009

No swimming--Joshua Tree National Park

(Barker Dam, November, 2010)

Believe it or not, at times the man-made dam, an old cattle watering hole, looks like a lake!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dr. Luckie--"Father of 29 Palms"

(September, 2009, 29 Palms)

Dr. James Luckie is depicted in a 29 Palms mural. After World War I he practiced medicine in Pasadena and treated veterans injured by mustard gas poisoning. Dr, Luckie advised his patients to file homestead claims in the high desert community where the altitude and climate might heal their injured lungs. Many recovered there and stayed to raise families.

A former medical officer, Dr. Luckie would not accept payment for his services and was deeded forty acres of land by grateful resident Bill Campbell. Dr. Luckie deeded the land over to the local legion post. Today "Luckie Park" sits on the site as a tribute to this generous man.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park ranger Laureen Lentz

(Joshua Tree National Park Visitors Center, September, 2009)

Our friend Laureen Lentz is one of the Park's amazing natural resources! A 20 year Park employee, she fills the role of Volunteer Coordinator as well as Lead Park Guide. Laureen always has a smile on her face and shares interesting information and great stories, which makes our visits to Joshua Tree National Park sing!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

desert love

(Joshua Tree National Park, November, 2000)

A few weekends ago I went on a walk around my mother-in-law's neighborhood in 29 Palms. Why I love the desert hit me once again. I notice things here... a feather blowing across the road, an anthill rising from a crack in the pavement, the breeze on my face, the call of morning doves.

The world around me amplifies and fills me with the sights and sounds of nature... or the absence of noise and perfect calm. The stillness of the desert quiets my restless mind.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Keys View--Joshua Tree National Park

(Keys View, Joshua Tree National Park--September, 2009)

While our family was visiting my mother-in-law Helen in 29 Palms last weekend, William and I went out to Joshua Tree National Park. I was recovering from a sprained ankle and did more hobbling than hiking, and shot a lot of photos.

The park was unusually hot--around 100 degrees-no escaping the heat wave in the city, with a blue, windless sky, and empty! You could drive for miles and not see a car. We drove up to Keys View, the highest point, with an awesome view of the Coachella Valley from Palm Springs (a fire was burning somewhere around there), Mount San Jacinto behind it, to the Salton Sea, Signal Mountain and Mexico south of that.

Not many people up there either except for a German couple taking photos of a friendly antelope ground squirrel (awwww... I took a few, too).

A beautiful weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park--September field class schedule

September Field Class Schedule:
To register for classes please go to or click here.

Discover the Milky Way
Warm September nights are a perfect time to explore the summer Milky Way. David Chappell will lead participants on a tour of the stars, clusters, and nebulae that reside along the galactic plane in this field class.
Dates/Times: Saturday, September 19, 2 pm - 10 pm
Meet at: Oasis Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA
Fee: $60 ($50 for JTNPA/PINE members)

Summer Annual Wildflower Wanderings
Did you know that wildflowers can be abundant each fall? Summer annuals will bloom in September with enough rainfall. Desert Naturalist, Darrell Shade will saturate your senses with these unique fall blossoms that occur in Joshua Tree National Park in this one-day field class.
Dates/Times: Sunday, September 20, 7 am - 1:30 pm
Meet at: Oasis Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA
Fee: $60 ($50 for JTNPA/PINE members)

Insects and Other Arthropods of the Morongo Basin
(UCR optional credit - Entomology x405, 1.5 units)
Did you know that insects can survive in temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade with little to no water? Kurt Leuschner will explore the lives of the largest group of animals in the world through an in-depth study of insect anatomy, survival traits, habitats, and behaviors.
Dates/Times: Friday, September 25, 7 pm - 9 pm;
Saturday, September 26, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm and 6 pm - 9 pm
Sunday, September 27, 8 am - 12 pm
Meet at: Black Rock Visitor Center, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd., Yucca Valley, CA
Credit Fee: $210 ($200 for JTNPA/PINE members)
Non-Credit Fee: $135 ($125 JTNPA/PINE members)

Night Sky Photography
If you enjoy photography and are fascinated by the desert night sky, this hands-on course is for you! Dennis Mammana, sky photographer, will teach participants the secret of capturing the desert sky at sunset and dusk, creating time-lapse exposures, moonlight shots, and more.
Dates/Times: Saturday, September 26, 1 pm - 9 pm
Meet at: Oasis Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA
Fee: $60 ($50 for JTNPA/PINE members)

Old School House Lecture Series, Twentynine Palms
Become a subscriber and save $10 on all ten lectures in the Series. Contact the Desert Institute or visit for more information.

Tales of the Mojave Road - the Military
Dennis Casebier, Historian, Author, Executive Director Mojave Heritage & Cultural History Association
Join historian Dennis Casebier to hear the story of the military men and women who built and manned the forts on the Mojave Road as well as the challenges the soldiers faced to support western migration to the coast.
Location: Old School House Museum, 6760 National Park Dr, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Date/Time: September 11, 7 pm
Fee: $5.00 at the door.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Desert Institute Fall Field Class schedule

Fall 2009 Field Class Schedule

The classes take place in Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area. The scenery is inspirational, the autumn weather beautiful and mild. To register click here.

September 19 - Discover the Milky Way
20 - Summer Annual Wildflower Wanderings -
25 - 27 - Insects & Other Arthropods of the Morongo Basin-
26 - Night Sky Photography

October 3 & 10 - Native American Style Pottery
4 - Desert Snakes: Fang, Rattle, and More
17 & 18 - Biological Soil Crusts of Joshua Tree National Park
18 - Bighorn Sheep of Joshua Tree National Park -
24 & 25 - Native American Basket Weaving
24 & 25 - Archaeology of Joshua Tree National Park
31 - Geology of Rattlesnake Canyon
31 & November 1 - Edible Plants of the Desert

November 1 - Native Californian Pigments & Paints

6 & 7 - Photographing the Joshua Tree Landscape
7 - Watercolor Painting in the Park
8 - Drawing the Desert with Pencil and Brush -
8 - Mystery of the Wonderland of Rocks
14 & 15 - Geology: Creation of the Joshua Tree Landscape
14 - Collage Monotypes in Joshua Tree National Park
20 & 21 - Basic Map & Compass
21 - Explore the Eagle Mountains
21 & 22 - Geology and Paleontology of the Pinto Basin
22 - Advanced Map & Compass

December 5 - Geology of the San Andreas Fault
5 - Basic Desert Survival
6 - Advanced Desert Survival -
6 - Journey to Cary’s Castle

Friday, August 21, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park--whale rock

(Joshua Tree National Park, 2000)

The amazing rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park always inspire me, and conjure images of all sorts of things. This one reminded me of a breeching whale.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009