Monday, March 14, 2016

Mojave National Preserve, CA 2016

Deciding to leave the crowds of Death Valley National Park and skip the certain crowds at Joshua Tree National Park we headed to 1.6 million acre Mojave National Preserve where we found flowers, Joshua Trees, expansive views, singing frogs (YES!), solitude and cool people. A map and an adventurous spirit is all one needs to find the best places.

Cactus Wren...beautiful and faithful feathered friend. How we missed you!

Rocks and sky - I'm one happy hiker.

Flocks of white-crowned sparrows greeted us at every trail bend and are a winter visitor here in southern CA just like in our Midwestern homeland.

Steve loved the "densest, largest Joshua Tree forest" found in the U.S, yes, here at Mojave National Preserve. Can you believe it? He swore this was a Dr. Seuss forest and it did indeed feel as though we were in a storybook.

Beavertail cactus, if you didn't have such prickly bristles, I would certainly hug your cute little pads.

Exploring in nature, finding joy in the present moment, experiencing a clear mind and honed senses, not thinking about technology or the To Do list - just BEING - is why we are transitioning our lives and just so happens to do this to us:

The beautiful, sunshiny Bladderpod (Peritoma arborea) required a slam on brakes and a reverse in our rental car to meet this incredible member of the Caper Family. Who could leave without a formal introduction? So many oohs and ahhs showered this perennial shrub that surely she opened a couple more blossoms just for us.

Bristly Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata), a member of the Borage Family, welcomed us in the same section of desert roadway and made us fall in love with orange all over again. Those of you that know us, know our house is painted in many colors and this is where we find our, blue skies, rocks - Nature.

A Phainopepla greeting us graciously after we interrupted...

his daily consumption of at least 1,100 Mistletoe berries (Sandalwood Family - fascinating). This parasitic plant's berries just so happens to be where the phainopepla gets its water too. Read about this's cool!

Zzyzx is a cool and bizarre part of Mojave National Preserve that's well worth a visit. There are springs in the area utilized by all sorts of plants and animals including the Pacific Treefrog that may have been introduced (though it is native to the Mojave river system) when several of these springs were utilized for a health spa. Sedges, water, salt flats and mountains...what a mind boggling landscape.

Travel note for all you adventurers: Las Vegas is a pretty cheap airport to fly into for many SW explorations. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is very close to town and offers scenic red rocks, hiking, climbing and camping to faciliate local exploration or as a pitstop on your way elsewhere. We used it coming and going to southern CA and it worked quite well.

This is our first of two FREE flying trips for both of us booked this year thanks to information from Extra Pack of Peanuts. We're planting oodles and oodles of trees and shrubs again this year to help offset our travel carbon emissions. You know what that means...lots more tree tubes! We are thinking of renaming The Common Milkweed - The Tube Farm. Ha!


  1. I love your approach to travel, and your desire to learn more about the ground you're on...Love the birds and plants you shared with us, can almost hear that Wren calling!

  2. Thanks much for the shout-out. Love the photos. The Preserve is a wonderful and wondrous place!

  3. Wow, you guys are the best!!! I should come on here more often to stay in touch! Very informative post as well as an enjoyable read - and the photos are fantastic!! So glad to here that you two were able to just enjoy nature and each other's company for a little while in the midst of the plugged in and fast-paced lifestyles that we all seem to live nowadays. I feel the same way anymore even when I go exploring in the woods by myself for just an hour! Grad school and beyond has kept me super busy!! I'm on the final stretch now though, just trying to get this thesis written :) I've got some friends down in Columbus - I told them to get in touch with you guys about volunteering etc. ! Hope to see you guys soon!!!

    1. Doug - It's great to hear from you! We are working on getting more and more enjoyment and slowing down into our lives. :) Everything goes so fast otherwise and we truly want to honor and LIVE this one beautiful life we have. :) We hope life is great for you and we so look forward to catching up sometime soon. We hope moments of peace find you too...


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