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.






Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dried mud~Macro Friday~022511











While hubby and I were waiting for our photography group to join us at Anza-Borrego park last month, I wandered through the dry wash which we were going to soon drive out to Font's Point. I found a dried up water hole and I bent down to investigate the curled up mud. Hmmm....???? It was actually quite interesting, don't you think? Macro Friday for February 25, 2011.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Letters you don't want to see~Thematic Photographic, "Letters" 022511




Hubby and I drove up to the Whitewater Preserve last Sunday, after Saturday's snowfall and we stopped at the river. I saw this sign and went, "Gulp!" Bears? Mountain lions? Rattlesnakes? Oh, my! And, yes, flash floods! Actually, there were quite a few people out hiking and several families at the preserve. It was COLD and windy and I was cranky and tired, so we didn't stay long. Thematic Photographic~Letters~February 25, 2011. If you want to play or see other participants, please visit: http://writteninc.blogspot.com/2011/02/thematic-photographic-135-letters.html Update: For those of you who asked about this location, it is at the end of Whitewater Canyon, near Palm Springs. It is up in the San Bernardino mountains, about 2,000 feet. The Whitewater River comes flowing down through this location (see it in the second photo). This is VERY rugged terrain and one time, we looked at the top of the cliffs and saw a herd of bighorn sheep. Here in our mountains, where there are bighorn sheep, there are mountain lions. Yes, there are bears, too, in these mountains, but probably much higher up than this location. I'll post more pics tomorrow of Whitewater Canyon.
~~Cheryl Ann~~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Joshua Tree and sky~SkyWatch Friday 022511


Okay. I admit it. I'm FASCINATED by joshua trees! They are so unusual. I could just stare at them all day! We were lucky that the last time we drove up to Joshua Tree National Park, it was the day after a snowstorm hit the park, and snow was on them. But, it was clearing and eventually blue sky broke through the clouds. Another storm is due to hit the desert this weekend, with snow forecast down to 1,500 feet, so the park will get another dusting of snow, or maybe more! SkyWatch Friday for February 25, 2011. See more at: http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Snow and yuccas







I took these photos up on Highway 74, the Palms to Pines Highway last Sunday morning. Another storm is moving into our valley and snow is forecast down to 3,500 feet (again) on Saturday. It is just so unusual to see yuccas covered with snow! Aren't they beautiful?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More scenes from Joshua Tree~That's My world 022211




Hubby and I drove up to Joshua Tree National Park Sunday. It was the morning after a huge snowstorm that moved through our valley, bringing us over an inch of rain on the valley floor and up to 24 inches of new snow on the higher elevations in our local mountains. It was sunny on Sunday morning, although clouds were still hanging around. It was interesting to see the snow on the joshua trees (bottom photo). That's My World for Tuesday, February 22, 2011.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Mogollon Rim~aspen in snow~Festival of the Trees 022211








My husband loves to find stands of aspen and one of our favorite ones is on the Mogollon Rim, near Forest Lakes. One summer when we drove by to admire it, we noticed that it was completely fenced. We talked to a park ranger who explained that deer love to eat the bark~it is "deer candy" for them! In order to preserve the stand, it was fenced off. We took the road with that stand of aspen and this past November, we found another stand further down the road. This one wasn't fenced (see the carving on the tree). And, we found it after a snowstorm hit the area. We drove down the road and investigated it. We love aspen in the fall, winter, spring, and summer and wherever we go, we look for aspen. Don't you like their stark beauty? Festival of the Trees for February, 2011.




Joshua Tree after a snowstorm~Blogger's Community Photo Challenge 022111




All of our local mountains got fresh snow Saturday night and Sunday morning I actually headed in the opposite direction, up Highway 74 to see the snow there. I could see, from across the valley, that Joshua Tree also had quite a bit of snow, so I called hubby (and woke him up!) and asked if he wanted to drive up there to see it. So, back down the hill I drove, picked up hubby, and we headed in the opposite direction to Joshua Tree. Both Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley were dusted by the snow. It was on roofs, new cars in car lots, and even on sidewalks there. It was very pretty! The park had a lot of visitors in the morning, but when we left about noon, the line to the west entrance was about a quarter mile long! But the sun was out, there were clouds in the sky, and it was a beautiful day for a trip to Joshua Tree! By the time we left, about noon, all the snow on the south-facing side was gone! Blogger's Community Photo Challenge, "Storms", for February 21, 2011. To visit Blogger's Community, please visit: http://communityphotochallenge.blogspot.com/2011/02/community-photo-challenge-storms.html


Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunrise at the Marriott~SkyWatch Friday 021811

I pass by Marriott Desert Springs every morning on my way to the freeway and on this morning, the clouds were just right for a beautiful sunrise. Most mornings are clear here in the desert, but this morning the skies are cloudy and I saw another beautiful, red sunrise. I went out to feed the birds. Doves, finches, and a stray scrub jay like to come visit our front yard! One year, a family of quail stopped by, but that was several years ago. For many, many years a family of roadrunners also lived in our neighborhood, but, alas, I haven't seen them for several years either. SkyWatch Friday for February 18, 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Footprints in the sand at Joshua Tree~Nature Notes




We last visited Joshua Tree National Park in January. A storm is moving into the Coachella Valley and snow is forecast down to 4,500 feet, so the park may get snow this weekend. I love to look for prints in the sandy washes. I try to figure out what went on during the previous night! Nature Notes for February 17, 2011.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Polo ponies, Indio, CA








I took my camera with me last Friday and after school I drove out past the vineyards to the polo fields in Indio. I came upon some riders out exercising some polo ponies. A couple of them had 4 horses with them! Gosh! I can hardly handle one at a time! NO WAY could I handle 4 horses and ride another one!


Desert lupine

As I drove up Highway 74 on Sunday, I had the time to stop and take some photos of the desert lupine, which is blooming for a couple of weeks. These little plants won't last long, so I wanted to get some pics of them NOW! They start to grow at about 1,000 feet and continue up to about 2,000 feet, but I never see them higher than that elevation. Other wildflowers will begin to bloom on top of our local mountains and I'm enjoying watching the desert slowly start to bloom now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

African daisies~Mellow Yellow Monday 021411

My African daisies are now in full bloom. I planted these in the front yard, out by the sidewalk. I had to put wire over them as somebody's dog likes to stop and...er..."deposit" some items and tear them up! Don't people recognize the leash law? (...shaking head...) So, that explains the wire over them. After being gone one weekend, we arrived home to find half of the daisies thrown about in chaos. I mean, how frustrating is that??? I NEVER allow my dogs to run alone, without a leash. And, the sad part is that our street is only one block off a very busy main street here in town! I don't think I'll even plant them here next year, so I'll need to figure out where to plant them. They do reseed themselves, so some may grow, but I always collect the seeds, keep them, and then reseed the following year. Mellow Yellow Monday for February 14, 2011. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

mature vineyard, Coachella, CA




After showing photos of burning bales of hay, I ventured out Friday afternoon, after school, to drive past the vineyards down by my school. I apologize for the poor quality of these pics, but it was mid-afternoon and the sunlight was funky and I was in a hurry to get home! I'll drive out that way again this week because, while this vineyard was pruned, the one next to it wasn't and the grape vines were going all over the place! These are table grapes, perhaps green table grapes? Wine grapes don't grow here in the desert. Yes, life in the desert DOES go on...these grapes are from an old vineyard. Can you see how big they are? I see a lot of young table grapes out by my school and they are itty-bitty compared to these "oldsters"! The Coachella Valley grows a lot of California's table grapes. I'll investigate the vineyard out east of my school next week and see if the grapes have started to grow. I love to watch the vineyards. They are so peaceful.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fields ablaze! Nature Notes 020911











As I drove to school one morning last week, I noticed a field on fire. Fortunately, I had left home early that morning and I had time to drive by and take a look. I wasn't sure what exactly was happening, but I did take some photos. The smoke, by then, had drifted over by my school and it was in my hair since I drove through it. UGH! We could all see the smoke and smell it all day. It turns out that, due to the extremely low temps the night before, the growers had placed bales of hay next to the fields of potatoes and had lit them, hoping that this would prevent their crops from freezing. It was 17 degrees for two nights down in Thermal. That's a new record. Unfortunately, their crops were lost, along with crops of peppers. That's the chance that growers take and since then, we've had no more frosts. Nature Notes for February 9, 2011.




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sycamores~That's My World 020811


I stopped by the Living Desert Reserve one day and was surprised to see that the sycamore trees stil had leaves! The cottonwoods have lost their leaves, but these sycamores were full. I liked the way the sunlight was shining through them! We're having temps in the mid 70's all week and nights aren't as cold as last week! That's My World for Tuesday, February 8, 2011.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ocotillo bloom~Outdoor Macro Challenge 021711

The ocotillos are starting to bloom here in our desert. We've had a couple of weeks now of sunshine and warm days and after all of our rain last December, the desert is green. Wild lupines are blooming up on Highway 74 (Palms to Pines Highway) and a few yellow flowers are blooming, along with the ocotillos. There are several stands of them up on Highway 74. I do believe that with all our December rains, we should have a spectacular wildflower season this year! Outdoor Macro Challenge for February 7, 2011. To visit other participants, please visit:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Badlands~Scenic Sunday 020611


I never got a decent shot of the Badlands, but hubby actually took this one! We both had to face toward the west and the setting sun. I think he cupped his hand partly to block the sun when he took it. I like the rugged beauty of the Badlands. From one point, you can almost see down into Mexico. These badlands are located in Anza Borrego park, at Font's Point. If you ever have a chance to visit the park, it is an amazing experience! Scenic Sunday for February 6, 2011.

Sandy Wash~Shadow Shot Sunday 020611

We found this dry, sandy wash in Anza Borrego when we took our photography class a couple of weeks ago. Shadow Shot Sunday for February 6, 2011. To visit other players, please stop by:
http://heyharriet.blogspot.com/ Update: For those of you who asked about this wash, it was right off the dirt road in another larger wash which is the main route into Font's Point. You CANNOT drive that road with a normal car! You either need a 4 wheel drive OR a high clearance vehicle (we have a 2 wheel drive XTERRA). The reason is that the road IS a dried out wash! There is a lot of soft sand there and when I drove it, hubby kept yelling, "Floor it and don't STOP!" We did caravan in with our photography group and I would definitely advise you to not risk getting stuck in the wash or drive it alone! However, we did see a family there who drove their Suburban in and they did make it. BUT...there is NO cell phone service out there, so if you get stuck, you would have to wait for another car to come along. Fortunately, it IS a popular photo spot and people and tour companies do drive out there through the wash. Finally, there is a tour company in Borrego and they take 4 wheel drive big ex-military transports through the wash and down into the canyons. Just be sensible if you wish to visit Font's Point. You can certainly ask around the town of Borrego and find out more information about it. My header photo was taken at the end of the wash, looking out across the badlands at Font's Point.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ocotillo in bloom

As I drove up the mountain, from the desert floor, I pass through rugged, rocky hills before I come upon the pinyon forest. I spotted this ocotillo in bloom last weekend and pulled over to snap this photo. Spring is coming to the desert and our foothills and I'm hoping to get some photos of the wildflowers and lupine blooming this weekend.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The desert in bloom! Nature Notes 020311







I just thought I'd share some of our sunshine with you! The desert is in bloom right now and I found this tree up at the St. Margaret's Church here in town. Sending you some sunshine today! :-) While we are having cold temps and winds here in the desert, this weekend, it should warm up to the mid 70's and more sunny weather is in the forecast! I'm enjoying watching our desert green up and start to bloom, although allergy sufferers are not so thrilled! Nature Notes for February 3, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please stop by: http://ramblingwoods.com/



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pretty flowers~That's My World 020111

Just some pretty flowers that I spotted one afternoon. The desert is in full bloom right now and there are even wildflowers that are starting to blossom! That's My World for Tuesday, February 1, 2011.