The Mojave Desert

First night… Kingman, Arizona

We leave the Sonoran Desert behind as we travel northeast into Arizona.

The Ocotillo are blooming in blazes of orange on US-95 North.

Gnarly rock formations have seen it all standing guard throughout the ages and stages of the life of the Mojave Desert.

The Colorado River separates California from Arizona near Needles.

About 50 miles later we arrive in Kingman, Arizona…

My photography skills from the passenger seat of a moving RV are out of practice. At least the windows aren’t too stained with bug juice yet!

We spend the night at the Zuni Village RV Park. “After the solitude of the Oasis, this is a bit depressing,” says Jeff. But we have a pull-through site and we don’t have to unhook the car and tow dolly.

Easy Peasy…

zunirv.com

zunirv.com

See You In September

I still have a few entries to post about our 7 months at Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, but we are getting ready to hit the road again and I want to stay current with our travels. So, I will journal about our daily adventures as we drive to Colorado to visit Jernigan Land and backdate the rest of of my posts about the Preserve when I finish writing them.


Bye-Bye, So Long, Farewell…

Today is the last day of the 2018-2019 Coachella Valley Preserve October 1st through April 30th season. The glass half empty — we are leaving tomorrow… the glass half full — we are coming back!

Lots of hugs have been exchanged with once new acquaintances who have so quickly become family, and what a wonderful family we have here! We will miss you. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and experiences with us. We learned so much and enjoyed our role as onsite hosts. Thank you for loving us as much as we love you…

Goodbye, Thousand Palms Oasis…

Goodbye moon, rising over the valley…

“Where Can I Go To See The Wildflowers?”

That is the Question…

… most asked by the constant stream of visitors coming and going on the Preserve.

Since most folks have never been here before and will probably never return, we recommend the signature trail to Simone Pond and back with a short detour to Vista Point before heading back.

However, less crowded and just as aesthetically appealing hikes are across the street. Both the Pushawalla Ridge and Wash Trails are lined with blooms and planted bouquets of color.

Today, however, Jeff and I explore the trail alongside Bee Mesa, parallel to Thousand Palms Canyon Road.

WOW!

Desert Rock-Pea…

Jeff and I think this is some kind of Sun Cup…

Nipple Cactus…

Gilia…

Skeleton…

White Phacelia…

Lavender…

Desert Dandelions… pure yellow

Five-Spots… unopened they look like rose buds

Desert Trumpet…

California Evening Primrose… a tall sparse plant with yellow flowers

A Painted Lady Butterfly resting on Pincushion…

The trail cuts through the super bloom field of yellows, purples, and whites… eye candy!

Desert Rock Daisies, White Phacelia, and Purple Phacelia…

A close up of White Phacelia…

Heartleaf Primrose…

More Gilia…

Purple Mat… a belly plant because you have to lie on your belly to get a good pic!

Broadleaf Gilia… beautiful, but sticky and stinky

Yellow Plumes


On our way back we run into our Preserve Manager, Ginny. She’s on a hillside pulling these invasive weeds…

en.m.wikipedia.org

Mediterranean Needle Grass or stipa capensis is native to the Persian Gulf and is an annual grass now found in the Coachella Valley of the Sonoran Desert. It is now becoming so widespread in the Palm Springs area that it is becoming a serious fire hazard to the California desert ecosystems. The sharp florets of the plant can injure animals and may attach to their fur as a dispersal mechanism, thus decreasing the abundance of native wildflowers. (cal-ipc.org)

So we start pulling these suckers and stashing them into trash bags which we carry out to the Pushawalla parking area for Ginny who will pick them up in her truck.

Upon returning to our RV we discover these sharp needles stuck in our shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes. So we carefully remove each one and properly throw them away instead of allowing them to disperse and propagate.

Harlan Takes Us On A Field Trip

Joshua Tree

 npmaps.com


Bajada Nature Trail…

 npmaps.com

WOW!

Fields of Lupine, Desert Sunflowers , and Brown-Eyed Primrose…

Looking into the sun, the wildflower fields resemble a Monet mosaic.

Chia…

Purple Mat…

Yellow Cups…

Brown-Eyed Primrose…

Desert Canterbury Bells…

Desert Willow Tree…

Lupine, Chia, Desert Dandelions, and Primrose…

Pencil Cholla…

More Brown-Eyed Primrose surrounded by Lupine and Forget-Me-Nots…

A close-up of the Primrose seed pods…

Chuparosa in the foreground…

A close-up of Chuparosa, Spanish for “sucking rose”, referring to its popularity with hummingbirds…

London Rocket…

Desert Heron’s Bill…

Desert Monkeyflower…

Desert Thorn Bush, aka Wolfberry…


Cottonwood Springs Wash… off the beaten path…

   npmaps.com

A MORE SUBTLE, BUT JUST AS SPECTACULAR WOW!

Fiddleneck…

Apricot Mallow…

Palo Verde…

Barrel Cactus… really red…

Ocotillo… close-up…

A “belly flower” that grows close to the ground… only known as Eriophyllum Wallacei, as it lacks a common name…

Wolfberry (Desert Thorn)

The top of a waterless waterfall…

A natural cairn…

Jojoba…

Desert Rock-Pea…

Desert Aster…

Pepper Grass…

Indian Tobacco…


Thank you, Harlan!!!

Desert Rains and Mountain Snow…

…Make the Wildflowers Bloom and Grow

Valentines Day 2019 brought rains and flash floods to the Coachella Valley.

  desertsun.com

desertsun.com

Cold temperatures dropped snow on the mountain tops… from San Jacinto to San Gorgonio to Joshua Tree…


February 21st

Harlan asks me to join him on a walk along the Indian Palms Trail. He is searching for an unknown wildflower he saw a few days ago and one that even stumped Ginny, our Preserve Manager. You betcha! Any walk with Harlan is a special treat.

We don’t find the whereabouts of the unknown wildflower, but I enjoy identifying the flowers I see with Harlan and capturing the threatening sky surrounding the valley.

California Evening Primrose…

Cheese Bush and something else I don’t know…

Pincushion…

Some type of Box Thorn? Not sure…

Indian Tobacco…


Later in the afternoon

Jeff and I walk along the McCallum Trail in search of Spectacle Pod. We spy with all 4 of our eyes…

Wild Heliotrope aka Phacelia Distans…

Also called Blue Phacelia, the flowers are a light lavender color.

Arrowweed blooming…

California Croton…

And a small patch of Spectacle Pod along the return loop from Moon Country back to the Visitor Center… It’s my new favorite wildflower!

Look at the leaves on the stem…

Sooooooo awesome and unusual!

I turn around and capture the field of wildflowers blooming on the Moon Country Trail.

On the way back we discover…

Lax-Flower…

Desert Velvet or “Turtle Back”…

And purple clouds over Simone Pond…