Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Journey South to Joshua Tree National Park.

As I drove up the steep slope that marked the exit of Death Valley I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was glad to be leaving the dry intense heat of the desert floor and the constant thirst that my body called for, but on the other hand I was a bit saddened to leave this place of intense beauty, filled with a plethora of wonders that had moved me so deeply. I was glad that I took the time to photograph it's marvelous splendor. Now I was looking forward to the next destination, it would be Joshua Tree National Park.

Once over the hill that led from the valley, even though it was still desert it was noticeably different. There was moisture in the air and the light seemed more chromatic. I guess to most people this might go unnoticed but on this journey of solitude with a meditative quiet mind, my senses seem heightened.

Now that I have left the below sea level depths and peaceful quiet of Death Valley I can not help but notice the intrusion of the modern world. Telephone poles, billboards and cell towers marked the long ribbon of highway breaking the horizontals of the hills with the intrusive verticals of man made things. 

Wind power generators ever spinning as they catch the never ending wind gusts that make the desert what it is, a dust bowl. Nature is being harnessed we are getting the message of our oil dependency, even if it is in small amounts. It is not an easy thing to turn a ship the size of our economy.

Night was now falling and tomorrow I will be entering the Mojave Range and then Joshua Tree. I think I'll sleep in a real bed tonight even if it is a cheap motel it's better then the car. Besides I need a shower.

The next morning I wake with the dawn a habit one forms when sleeping under the stars. Go to sleep when it gets dark, get up with the first light. Early morning is when the light presents photographic opportunities that can only be revealed in the half light of dawn. Here are a couple of shots I got this morning.

So as the sun rose in the sky the land became flat and less interesting. Much of it looked like the outskirts of small towns with one gas station, a restaurant and a small motel. Who lives in these places? I often wonder what makes some of us so reclusive. I don't think I would last long in such a remote place. Driving back roads or super highways in this area is much the same, there is not much to see and the highway is faster. Lunch came and went as the hours of driving pass the road under my wheels, and the day wore on.

It wasn't until late afternoon that the landscape started to change and reveal the promise of once again becoming immersed in nature. The desert was reclaiming the land. There were no more man-made objects aside from the road itself that I could see. The dust bowl was now behind me. The distant hills were gaining in scale and the cactus seemed to be everywhere. I am getting close to Joshua Tree.  As I pulled into my camp site the light was fading. I am excited to be here and to feel the energy of what I know will be another great experience waiting for me in the morning. I will rise with the dawn tomorrow and see what I can see. One last shot... then sleep...

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