I’ve Been Through The Desert….


Boy you lot are a bloodthirsty bunch judging by your comments in the previous post. I can almost feel you baying like a pack of hounds for blood!  I’m sitting here thinking well, what should I do now? Should I dish up some sort of Joshua Tree grizzly murder story where upon Irishman and I stumble across the pathetic remains of what’s left of a person hidden in a rockpile in the middle of the desert; their body horrifically dismembered, their brains mercilessly bashed out by ‘hammer man’ Or, do I simply carry on with my innocent account of our trip to Joshua Tree which I’m starting to fear is going to be the most terrible anti-climax. Tempting though it is to go down the Murder, Mystery, Suspense route, I’m no Agatha Christie, so folks, if this next part is an anti-climax for you then I apologise.

cloudless-sky-and-cabin

What I will say is that everything I wrote about in my last post was absolutely true. I am prone to exaggeration on occasion (who doesn’t like to embellish a story) but in the case of the characters at the gas station, they really did exist, they still do as far as I’m aware so be warned.

rafters-over-porch

After our terrifying trip to the shop, we spotted a bar on the other side of the road, The Joshua Tree Saloon. Never have I driven a car so fast from one side of a road to the other. This oasis of calm and safety, beckoned us, and before we knew it we were tucking into juicy burgers, (which were out of this world) and imbibing the local beer. Having eaten and drunk our fill we set off back to our cabin.

view-from-porch

side-of-cabin

It was only after having eaten and drunk, that I started to feel human again and be able to fully appreciate the extraordinary beauty of the place. Yes, it was bitterly, bitterly cold but for the first time in a long time I felt absolute peace and tranquility in my surroundings. After unpacking the car, and putting on several more layers, Irishman and I steeped back outside and stood in awe, not speaking a word as we gazed up at the vast canopy of stars in the huge, midnight blue skies above us.  In a place as desolate and remote as this, one cannot but wonder at the splendour of our earth and its fellow planets, the power of nature, in short, the enormity and magnificence of the universe that we inhabit. Standing there, quite literally star-struck, marveling at Gaia’s omnificence, no light pollution nor noise from anywhere save the wind rustling through the desert shrub and the call of a lone coyote we both felt very humble. With what lay above and all around us, in that moment we felt as tiny as the grains of sand beneath our feet.

Joshua-Tree-saloon-karaoke

interior-doorway-saloon

prickly-cactus-close-up

It was so cold in the cabin that we slept fully clothed. We’d joked about making it a second honeymoon but there was no way that either of us could face getting undressed it was so damn perishing in there so we curled up together like animals for warmth and soon the soporific howling of the desert winds worked their magic and we had drifted off into deep sleep.

crossroads

driving-rain-in-desert1

lane-bike

We had just two days to enjoy and make the most of Joshua Tree and when I woke at daybreak the first thing that I did was rush excitedly to the window, draw the curtains and soak in the early morning light picking out the mysterious shapes of the Joshua Trees in the landscape. This was all so new and unfamiliar to me, so exciting that I felt goosebumps – I was on my very own wild-west movie set and like all cowgirls it was time to get the fire going and make the coffee.

endless-crevices,-nookS-AND-CRANNIES

and-more-

I-married-this-unicorn-

fresh-morning-joshua-tree

There were many highlights on our trip but meeting my blogging sister Intricate Knot and her husband, Steve was absolutely the tops,the number one spot. We hooked up with them for meals and laughter over the course of our two days, but that first morning was when we met for the first time and had breakfast together before heading off on our own different adventures for the day. By 11am the heavens started to look ominously grey and soon the rain started to pelt down as we ventured into the park itself. It rained and it rained and it rained all day but nothing was going to dampen our enthusiasm or the thrill of being in the upper part of the Mojave Desert.

cautionary-message

cholla-cholla-everywhere

little-grave

flight-paths-

I knew nothing about Joshua Tree before I went there and I still have much to learn, but for those unfamiliar with this extraordinary part of the world it’s an area of 800,000 acres in Southern California, which straddles the boundary between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. There are six mountain ranges and the climate varies widely depending on the seasons. In summer it can be over 100 degrees F and in winter freezing with snow on the mountains. The landscape changes dramatically with the strange rock formations and literally 1,000’s of spiky Joshua Trees in the north down to the wide-open spaces in the Pinto Basin and it’s cholla cactus plants. Native American Indians, cattle ranchers and gold miners have inhabited this uniquely beautiful area over the millennia. In 1994 the Desert Protection Act upgraded Joshua Tree to national park status.

yellow-cholla

With its mountain ranges and the strange rock formations that make up much of the landscape it is one of America’s premier hiking and rock-climbing destinations and people travel from all over the globe especially to experience the challenge of climbing the rock formations some of which are over 20 storeys high. What is so fascinating about the geology is the way that the formations are made up. Some of the huge stones look like they have been deliberately placed one upon each other, huge boulders balance atop each other and in my mind I can only imagine that at night giants have had such fun creating this Dr Seussian landscape, this wonderful place that is Joshua Tree.

rocks-and-rocks-and-rocks

30 Comments

  1. Hammer Man: Give me some money I have run out of petrol (empty forecourt).
    Visitor to JT: F**k off you melt
    Hammer Man: Just asking

    Like

    1. Irishman, I think I’m going to have to ban you from leaving comments on my posts. You lower the tone of what is (even if I say it so myself) a high quality and family friendly blog. You can do ‘likes’ and give me ‘votes’ any day of the week but abusive and lewd language is not acceptable here.

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      1. cut and paste job……couldn’t RT it so here it is….

        Lottie Nevin ‏@BettyDharma
        @IntricateKnot1 you MELT!! still haven’t got a clue what it means! but your comment made me laugh, thanks SIs you ARE the BEST! xoxo

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      2. Hahaha! YOU are the best, Sis!!

        “Melt” makes me think of a wonderful, gooey, thick grilled cheese sandwich…with fries…and maybe a chocolate shake. Yum. Hungry now and must get something to eat….

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      3. MELT! it does sound like a very wicked gooey thick grilled cheese sandwich…yum.
        There’s another great cockney expression ‘Dry slap’ that’s good too but it doesn’t conjure up anything desirable on the culinary front, Melt is defo the winner 🙂 xoxo

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    1. Martha, you really have to go, I insist! It’s fabulous and I know that you will love it. I gather that Spring is the best time because the weather is good and you don’t get the soaring heat of the summer or the bitter cold of the winter. There are great places to stay and so much to see. I definitely recommend the Joshua Tree saloon, the food is good and it’s very popular. The other bonus was there were no hammer men in there!

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  2. I love these photos! You certainly have an eye for the interesting…I wanted to drop by and thank you for your recommendation on Triberr, and also the main reason I hopped over this AM was your absolutely fantastic space suit avatar photo…I can’t tel you how much I love that. Cheers and happy travels!!

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    1. Thanks Lynette 🙂 yes, the space suit hat….we actually bought it at The Hall of Science Museum in New York last January. It’s had a few outings but sadly is now somewhat faded as Irishman insisted on using it for a short film that we made in Bali. The combination of sea salt and sun did it no favours. Great to hear from you and hope that this week is going a lot better for you X

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  3. So far, thus very good. I can not imagine how people find Jousha Tree beautiful. But I loved your acount of the place. And if you and the Irishman love the place then I’ll love it vicariously through your words. I can just imagine how dang cold the place was. So you and Intricate Knot and her man met at Joushas tree? At least that is what I gathered from your post. Your photos are great. Heck some of them might rival NatGeo. I am looking forward to the next installment of Jousha Tree.

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    1. You do make me laugh Yvonne! no seriously, no kidding your comments always make me laugh and smile and that’s wonderful. Nat Geo …crikey, that’ll be the day but very kind of you to say so! Yes, we had a great time with Mr and Mrs Intricate Knot – it’s great to meet fellow bloggers and IK is simply wonderful, if we lived closer to each other `I’m sure that we’d be meeting up a lot! Not sure if I am going to write another post about JT, unless of course I do end up writing a murder story or something in that vein…hmmm there’s a thought 🙂
      Oh, one last thing…do you have a twitter account? I’ve been sharing your posts of twitter but don’t know if you are actually subscribed to it or not? or Facebook?

      Like

      1. Lottie thanks for the reply. It is so nice that you have become frends with Ms Knotty (my shorten version of her name) 🙂

        I don’t have any of the accounts that you mentioned but – do you think that I should be twittering and facing the public through those outlets? Would it give me my exposure of the right kind to draw more traffic to my blog? 🙂

        Share all that you want about me- I have no secrets other than I suppose it would be nice to have more viewers. The most views that I’ve had I think were 88 or 83 a few days ago. I never am sure just what drives people to my site. I have looked at the search words and people must think my site is a walking info book.

        Lottie delete the last paragraph about my daughter. XXX

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  4. I absodamnlutely LOVE this post, Sister. Although there’s no blood and gore, no way this could be let down!

    You have some seriously great lines here: “I was on my very own wild-west movie set and like all cowgirls it was time to get the fire going and make the coffee.” Haha! I can see your excitement and it’s fabulous.

    I think you captured exactly what it is about the desert that people love: “…one cannot but wonder at the splendour of our earth and its fellow planets, the power of nature, in short, the enormity and magnificence of the universe that we inhabit. Standing there, quite literally star-struck, marveling at Gaia’s omnificence, no light pollution nor noise from anywhere save the wind rustling through the desert shrub and the call of a lone coyote we both felt very humble.”

    My fav is how you call the JT landscape “Dr Seussian.” Perfect. And my fav photo (though I love them all) is “I married a unicorn.” Awe. Some.

    We loved our time in JT and most definitely meeting you and Pete was THE highlight for us, too. xoxo

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    1. Well dear Sister, looks like we think and feel exactly the same way about JT. The Dr Seussian bit is in response to quite a lot of stuff that I read up about JT. It seems that his name figures a lot there and it certainly struck a chord with me – those trees are very odd, straight out of the Lorax. I loved them and I can’t wait to go back as you know. I need to hatch a cunning plan to make it happen. Maybe we should make it an annual event? The Hammer Man convention? xoxo

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      1. Sounds like a very good plan. There’s a huge Wicker Man party that goes on in the Nevada desert. Why not a Hammer Man convention in JT? I wouldn’t mind carrying a hammer or two. People will give us a wide berth and that could be a very good thing. xoxo

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  5. Wonderfully written Lottie, especially this bit resonates with me: “Standing there, quite literally star-struck, marveling at Gaia’s omnificence, no light pollution nor noise from anywhere save the wind rustling through the desert shrub and the call of a lone coyote we both felt very humble. With what lay above and all around us, in that moment we felt as tiny as the grains of sand beneath our feet.” I find your photography stunning – a very personal style. In awe. Andrew

    Like

    1. Oh Andrew, you make me blush!! thank you. YOU are the amazing photographer and anyone that reads this should definitely go and check out your blog – those bird pictures today are extraordinary. Have a great weekend and I can’t wait to hear about more of your trip.

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  6. Lovely post Lottie. I haven’t been to JT and never even thought about really…til now. I grew up in the desert and I can vividly remember the blanket of stars in the night sky, looking so close that I could almost reach up and touch them. I miss that, and I, too think the desert is unbelievably beautiful!

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    1. Beduwen, I am so jealous of you growing up in the desert, you lucky girl. I can’t think of anywhere more wonderful to be. I’m so glad you understand what I wrote about the stars, it’s almost impossible to describe really if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. I think the desert is unbelievably beautiful too and if, and when, you have a chance, do go and check out Joshua Tree, you won’t be disappointed!

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  7. That’s it, I’m going to have to try and go now. It’s one of those places that speaks to me – originating I think from the U2 album cover a bazillion years ago and stirred up by your excellent photos. We’re planning a West Coast US thing for a year or two’s time.

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  8. Lottie,

    DON’ DO IT!!! You can’t ban the Irishman! The comment and banter between you two made a perfect post even more PERFECT!!!! I couldn’t help but read every little word between you two…. (he was kind enough to leave some letters to the imagination in his comment….even if they were on some 4 letter words)!

    I have to ask though Lottie….Did you at least sleep with one eye open? After all there was some crazy, “desert boys” to think of!!!

    Aaron

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    1. I’ve got to confess that it did occur to me just as I was dropping off to sleep that if hammer man and his gang did come round we would be in a spot of trouble – I decided to try not to think about it, the thought was just too grizzly to even bear worth thinking about. Mercifully the howling wind and the coyotes lullaby in the distance soon had me asleep in what was the comfiest bed that I have ever slept in. Your right to mention it though because there sure are some crazy ‘desert boys’ out there!

      Like

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