Deserts and Beyond

Deserts and beyond...places in and around the southern California deserts and beyond. Photo taken at Canyon Lake, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, December 2011. A few minutes later, after the sun disappeared, these cliffs were their normal color. They were only golden for a short time and I'm glad we were able to view them in their glory.






Sunday, May 30, 2010

Snow and the Sierras~Scenic Sunday 053010











Hubby and I headed back to our favorite place, the eastern Sierra this weekend. And, since they just got another snowfall last week, many of the roads into the higher elevations are still closed. But, we were able to do the June Lake loop and get partway up toward Twin Lakes, in Mammoth. We took the Mammoth Scenic Loop and stopped at one place to discover rabbit prints in the snow and a mountain lion who followed it! YIKES! Hubby wouldn't let me investigate further and called me back to the car! We drove all the way up to Lee Vining and went out to the south tufa at Mono Lake. Today we are having a leisurely breakfast (after driving for 14 hours total yesterday!!) and going out to Bodie to take photos this afternoon. Here are a few photos from yesterday~~Scenic Sunday for May 30, 2010.

Friday, May 28, 2010

African village~Weekend Reflections~May 28, 2010


I found this reflection in one of the windows of the gift shop in the African Village section of the Living Desert Reserve when we visited it last weekend. I love visiting the Living Desert and seeing it during different times of the day. On this visit, we were there early in the morning. Weekend Reflections for May 28, 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Look out~Giraffe~SkyWatch Friday 052810


When my uncle and I visited the Living Desert Reserve last Saturday, it was before hours at the park and the giraffes weren't out of their nightly pen. Their alfalfa was in the high feeder and the keepers were cleaning out their corral, but they were nowhere in sight. Fortunately, this metal one is always on alert! Here it is peeking over the acacia trees. SkyWatch Friday for May 28, 2010.

Gift Shop Window~Window Views and Doors, Too~May 27, 2010


This is the gift shop at the Living Desert Reserve. Isn't it intriguing? Window Views and Doors, Too for May 27, 2010.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Miniature trains at the Living Desert~Outdoor Wednesday for May 26, 2010











The Living Desert Reserve, in Palm Desert, has a large model train exhibit. This exhibit has grown over the years and is manned by volunteers who make sure the trains are running for the children who come to view it. And, many kids do! There is a model Grand Canyon as well as a mining town on the other side. I like the miniature farm myself! Aren't they cute? There are several trains that run all day and they come with whistles, too! I enjoy seeing the little trains when I visit the Living Desert. Outdoor Wednesday for May 26, 2010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cacti~That's My World 052510




I love to wander around the garden center at the Living Desert Reserve and looking at the plants and cacti. Just look at these! OUCH! But, aren't they intriguing? That's My World for Tuesday, May 25, 2010.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yellow grasses~Mellow Yellow Monday 052310


I spotted these yellow grasses when we went to the Living Desert Reserve Saturday morning. Aren't they pretty in the morning light? Mellow Yellow Monday for May 23, 2010.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

African village shadows~Shadow Shot Sunday 052210


My uncle and I visited the Living Desert Reserve this morning and stopped by the African village. The morning shadows were on the huts there and I snapped this photo. Shadow Shot Sunday for May 22, 2010.

Mountain Lion statute, Living Desert~Round Robin Challenge 052210


This mountain lion statute lies at the entrance to the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, CA. Round Robin Challenge for May 22, 2010.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pinyon view~SkyWatch Friday 052110


Sometimes I just need to drive up to the mountains and sit and enjoy the view. SkyWatch Friday for May 21, 2010.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"R" is for rattlesnake~~ABC Wednesday 051910


I haven't seen a rattlesnake on the trail yet in the mornings, but one morning I did hear one. It was under a bush, right past where I walked. There is a warning sign at the visitor center and I stop and read it VERY CAREFULLY often! The morning I heard one, I instantly, instinctively FROZE and then, after moving my head and locating the source of the sound, I moved slowly away from it. READ the RATTLESNAKE sign!
ABC Wednesday for May 19, 2010.

Morning shadows~Outdoor Wednesday 052010


I love the early morning light and shadows. This is where I walk in the mornings and I'm finding that every morning brings something new for me to see. Sometimes it is a cottontail rabbit. Sometimes it is a cactus wren with nesting material in its mouth. Sometimes it is just a beautiful view of the desert. Outdoor Wednesday for May 20, 2010.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Morning walk~That's My World 051810











I grabbed my Olympus camera last week when I went out for my daily morning walk. It's interesting to see how I see things differently with different cameras. I stopped to view the desert grass growing and a half-filled hummingbird feeder. I liked the morning shadows on the side of the building and the soft morning shadows on the trail. I'll have to stop by here one afternoon and see these things in afternoon light sometime. That's My World for Tuesday, May 18, 2010.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saguaro blossoms~Cactus Monday 051710


Our local saguaros are beginning to bloom. While saguaros are NOT native to my desert, there are many of them planted near Palm Desert. They are brought in and planted in some developments and along some roadways. Saguaro theft is a big problem in some of our areas, but this one hasn't been disturbed. Cactus Monday for April 17, 2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Desert and mountain wildflowers~Sunday Stills Challenge 051610











Our local mountains are currently ablaze with wildflowers. I actually took these a couple of weekends ago, but they are still blooming. Not for long, however, as our desert temperatures will push 100 degrees this week and they will soon fade. I have enjoyed their beauty and...there's always next year! Sunday Stills Challenge for May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekend Reflections 051510


The weekend is FINALLY here and I can FINALLY take a nice, long, leisurely walk this morning! Phew! For those of you who visit this blog and don't know, I'm a third grade teacher. That means, during the week, if I get up and get ready soon enough, I have time for a quick 20 minute walk in the morning before heading out to school and 20 nine-year-olds! I'm finding that I NEED my morning walks for a couple of reasons: first, walking helps my legs and my back. I was injured (permanently) in a horse fall back in August of 2008 while riding a friend's horse. Walking helps my back and leg muscles so that the muscles don't cramp up at night. It is especially helpful to walk through the soft sand and really get my legs moving! If I don't walk for a week, I FEEL IT in my legs! Second, I LOVE the sights and sounds and smells of the desert in the mornings. As I walk, I go through pockets of cool air. I see and hear quail. Sometimes I spook a cottontail or jackrabbit. I see cactus wrens go in and out of their nests. I enjoy the quiet and openness of the desert in the very early morning. Once in a while I run into another human on my walk and this disturbs the tranquility of my morning since most mornings, I am alone. I love to stop and take photos of the morning's reflections on the tinted windows of the visitor center. Weekend Reflections for May 15, 2010.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Morning walk~~Nature Notes 051310







I took these pics on my early morning walk. I try to walk for 20 minutes before school at least 3 mornings a week. Mondays aren't good...I'm too frazzled and rushed to even think clearly! But, Tuesday and yesterday I was able to do my morning walk. It clears my head before a busy day with third graders! Nature Notes for May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Las Vegas pics~Outdoor Wednesday 051210










More pics from Red Rock Canyon, which is right outside of Summerlin, in Las Vegas. When we visit LV, we always stay in Summerlin. We went a couple of weekends ago so that I could attend a mustang training clinic in Sandy Valley. I see why it is called Sandy Valley! There is a huge sand dune or dry lake there. On our way home, after we left Red Rock Canyon, we both glanced over toward Sandy Valley (it was windy that day) and saw sand swirling up into the sky! Outdoor Wednesday for May 12, 2010.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Palm Desert Visitor Center ~ That's My World 051110











I always love strolling through the Palm Desert Visitor Center's garden. It is interesting to watch it through the seasons. Right now the ocotillos are in full bloom and the prickly pear has also blossomed. May in the desert is a great time for many plants and I'm heading out to the Living Desert Reserve one afternoon to see what is blooming there! We have been fortunate (**knock on wood**) to have a fairly cool May. I remember last May...temperatures were in the 100's and we were (shudder) running our air conditioner almost daily! ACK! This May, we haven't even turned it on! YEAH! My aunt and uncle just moved here to Sun City from San Diego and they enjoy opening their windows and letting the cool morning air in every morning. That's My World for Tuesday, May 11, 2010. But, alas...SUMMER'S COMING!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bobcat~Sunday stills Challenge 051010











This bobcat is one of the ones at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, CA. I have actually seen two in the wild in our local mountains. The first time was when I was driving down the mountain and I glanced out the window into a wash. Yup. There was a bobcat right there! Another time, I was up in Garner Valley visiting my cousin and as I turned the corner to go to her house, I glanced down into a little wash with a culvert (I'm always glancing down)...and yup, there was a beautiful one! I quietly stopped my car, grabbed my camera, tiptoed over to the wash, and got one photo before he quietly and quickly went through the culvert. I knew he would come out the other side, so I waited and there he was! Once he glanced up and saw me, however, he took off!!! Unfortunately, I don't remember now which folder those pics are, but these are so much closer and better! Aren't they a beautiful animal? Nice kitty, kitty! Sunday Stills Challenge for May 10, 2010.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Late afternoon at Lake Mead, NV~SkyWatch Friday 050910


The afternoon that hubby and I drove from Las Vegas out to the Valley of Fire, I wanted to also drive down and see Lake Mead. One boat landing was closed because the lake was so low. But, there was a beautiful sunset that evening and I liked looking out past the lake to the desert beyond. Skywatch Friday for May 7, 2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Valley of Fire~Outdoor Wednesday 050510











Valley of Fire is such an incredible place! We will be returning there in June, after school is out. We're taking our daughter and son-in-law with us so they can view it. Here are some views of the valley. Outdoor Wednesday for May 5, 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Busy night in the desert!!! Valley of Fire state park, Nevada











Hubby and I took the weekend off to drive to Las Vegas, NV. There was a horse clinic there which I audited Saturday morning, so that afternoon we decided to drive out to the Valley of Fire state park. We had never been through the park before and what a treat for our eyes! WOW! Anyway, at one point, we were ready to drive through the Rainbow Valley area and we stopped at a rest area. A wedding party was having their pictures taken, so we wandered down across the road to admire the view of the colorful valley below. I couldn't help but notice all the little animal tracks in the soft sand. Aren't they interesting? If anyone could help me identify them, please let me know what/who they are! It must have been a busy night up there the night before last!