Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hoover Dam

Leaving Joshua Tree National Park I set my sites on Hoover Dam. Driving northeast I was soon back in civilization and after the mind expanding experience of the last park the invasive explosion of humanity was more then obvious. I don't mean this to be in a negative context, just an observation of fact. Driving between wilderness and cities is a real eye opener about how we live. The narrow roads of wide open spaces give way to the 5 to 8 lanes of superhighway and cloverleaf junctions filled with traffic congestion. Everywhere one looks there is signage informing us of our needs to consume everything from A to Z. All of this is of course is a necessary part of the economy and we all need to participate at some level right? It is just that much more noticeable after coming out of a place like Joshua Tree. Wind farms (a good thing) dot the hillsides where they can do the most good.
 It wasn't long before I arrived at Las Vegas, Nevada. I would spend the night there to clean up and have a hot meal. Can't tell you how good it feels to sleep in a real bed after camping so many nights in the car. Soon my wife will arrive and we will travel together for a while. The next day I pick her up and meet some friends... then we get on the road to Hoover Dam. There is a great deal of construction being done on the infrastructure of the roads all over the southwest. Hoover Dam is no exception. The traffic began to back up miles from the dam and it took hours of bumper to bumper driving to reach the dam. As I crested the hill that provided my first gimps of the dam it all felt worth all the trouble.
If you look carefully you will see how the road winds a zig zag now the hill and out over the dam then up the opposite side of the ravine. A grand view overlooking it all. There are many places to pull out and park but you will pay at least 7 dollars for the privilege. Do it... it 's worth it so you can spend some time walking around and taking in the spectacle of this place. It is a beautiful thing to behold. What follows are just a few of the images I captured at Hoover Dam. Enjoy!
If you look carefully you can see all the power lines running from the Dam to the poles on the left this is to distribute the power generated by the dam. I hope you enjoyed these images as much as I enjoyed being at Hoover Dam. Notice the bridge bypass that they are now constructing. Soon You won't have to stop at all if you don't want to. This construction was the reason for the long lines of car waiting to cross. Next Park on my list is Zion National Park don't miss that one coming soon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mystical Joshua Tree

Getting to Joshua Tree takes me through many towns in Southern California, the drive is mostly freeway and civilization is sprawling with strip malls, factories and fast food joints along the way. There is no sign of wilderness for a great many miles. Eventually it all starts to give way to open desert and there is now a sense that I am escaping the congestion. As I climb into the foothills the Cactus becomes more noticeable and I begin to feel that I am close. I arrive late in the evening the sun is setting and I must find a camp site many are full as I drive from one location to another. Then I luck out and find a spot, must have been the last one in the park. Sun setting as  I bed down. Tomorrow morning I will get up early with the sunrise.

The light is cool and the scene is mystical as I get the first shot of the day. I am  captivated by the rocks and trees the landscape draws me in, but I need coffee and something to eat so my eagerness to explore will have to wait... Soon I am fueled up and grab my equipment for what will be a long hike into this wonderland.

Balanced rock caught my eye, How did that rock get there? It's too large to have been placed? Sitting up as though waiting and watching for something to happen I watch too.

The Joshua tree stands out in this landscape, a local resident of the desert. Each with it's own personality, accented by gesture of shape and a crown of spiky leaves they seem to be communicating with one another. This is a place without much water yet vegetation abounds amidst the large out of place rock formations and fields of sandy soil. It all feels so alien yet right.

As the day draws on, I wander through the landscape the rocks reveal their mineral content with blasts of color. Quartz rocks sparkle like gemstones. I need to know more about Geology to be able to tell you what I am shooting. I do know that red rock has iron content and oxidation causing the rusty color. Yellow could be sulpher, but i'm guessing here? I notice this chromatic formation crested with a cactus plume. Now the day is growing long and I start back to the camp... as I walk, I notice the openness of the sky... the quiet of the space. I stop to sit and take it in, an hour passes... and this is what I saw.
How long would you sit in this place? As I write this I miss it already.