A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flowers and Bugs

 This is a Desert Chicory, a Tobacco-weed or a Tackstem.  The white petals look the same on all three plants.  I'm going with the Tackstem for my desert flower guide book states it grows from Death Valley down into the eastern Mojave and that is where we were.  So Tackstem it is.

The Mojave Aster whose flowers can vary from blue violet to lavender to pinkish or nearly white.

The Wild-Heliotrope.  I should have tried to get closer but it was so small.
A lovely little flower.

Pencil Cholla for the stalk is not much thicker than a pencil.  I have some growing at home.  
They are usually green and I have never seen a purple one like this before.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Desert Debris

A rodent midden.  Little furry creatures gather up all the loose sticks and debris they can to make a safe home for themselves in the rocks.  Imagination how many trips back and forth this was.

This I could only surmise was an old prospector's camp site.  I looked all around for any signs of a mine, a hole in the ground or some type of digging but could not locate it.  

This was a remarkable rock formation but unfortunately my photo doesn't really show it very well.
 This is all one huge piece of granite and all of it beyond the crack was as flat as a pool table.

Here we needed more clouds for a dramatic sunset.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wandering About

Wandering off into the desert I came across this fallen Joshua Tree and was surprised as to how shallow their root system is.  I guess it can gather more water along the surface than deep.

I thought this rock formation looked like a bear or buffalo.

This is a California Juniper tree. You wouldn't think a pine tree would be growing in the desert.  It was the only one around which begs the question as to how the seed from which it grew came to be here?  I guess a bird pooped here a long time ago.

Well one thing is for sure, you'll not find any better shade in the desert from the hot sun than right here.  Looks like a good place to camp.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's Getting Better

We moved on in the Mojave National Preserve 
and the further north we went the more flowering plants there were to be found.

The Joshua Tree which oddly enough belongs to the lily family.

Desert Indian Paintbrush

This cactus is similar to the Clustered Barrel Cactus I showed before but that cactus has yellow flowers.  Whatever cactus this is it has very pretty flowers.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kelso Dunes

Next camp was at the Kelso Sand Dunes.

 There's nothing to see in sand dunes except evidence of the comings and goings of the locals.
A Pinacate beetle, otherwise known as a stinkbug.

A mouse.

 A Kangaroo Rat.  They drag their long tail.

At one time I would have climbed this dune, but these days the idea of sand-filled shoes don't appeal to me.  This dune is over 600 feet high.  That may not seem like much but when your slogging through soft sand slipping back a foot for every two feet gained, well you get the idea.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A New Location

We moved northward in the Mojave National Preserve 
and saw this interesting rock outcropping along the way.

Somewhere off in the distance the rain was pouring down.

I thought we might get some of this rain but it blew on away from us.
For most of the time on this trip it was bundle-up weather with a constant wind.

I was walking through a sandy wash and finally came upon some flowering plants.

This plant belongs to the evening-primrose family and has several names: Basket Evening-primrose, Lion-in-a-cage, or Devil's Lantern.  Oh the names taxonomists dream up. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's a Hard Life

Do you see the little plant trying to make a go of it in this hard rocky ground?

It was so well protected among the rocks is probably the only reason it survives
 from being eaten or stepped upon.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Search Continues

I continued on into the canyon in search of wildflowers where there was really no easy way to go.

Fortunately the local residents, Bighorn Sheep, made trails throughout the area 
which I took full advantage of and made for much easier hiking.
I think you can just make out the sheep trail.  Just imagine them taking the same route over and over again throughout the years and eventually the rocks get displaced creating a path.

 This is a Clustered Barrel Cactus so named for they grow in clusters. 
"I'd rather be alone". There's always someone who has to be different.
It is difficult to tell but the cactus is about 10 inches across.
Those spines are real hard and you could sew heavy cloth with them as a needle.

I noticed some of the rocks had splashes of white to them but didn't pay much attention to it thinking it was just bird doo.  Then I saw this outcropping and realized it was the rock itself.

Then I remembered earlier seeing on my map Marble Mountains Wilderness.  
Huh!  And so it was...marble.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mojave National Preserve

We arrived at our destination on the third day.

You mean we're finally here?  I am so excited!

It appeared we were too late as there were hardly any wildflowers
 and the cactus flowers had already bloomed and died back like this Beavertail.

I discovered this small (ping pong ball size) 
Fishhook cactus already with fruit from the two flowers it had produced.

 Finally I found a Hedgehog cactus with flowers.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Once a Nice Home

Finally turning off the interstate on our second day of driving (yes, it takes two days to drive the length of California) I took historic Route 66 towards our destination and soon found this neat old home.  It's hard but I try to imagine how places like these were 50, 60, or more years ago.  
So sad that idiots destroy these abandoned homes. 

 Inside it was so thoroughly trashed that nothing was worth taking a photo of.

Only the fireplace barely escaped destruction.  It was really dark in this room and I didn't hold the camera steady enough.  I should have raised the flash.

Gee, looking at this picture I thought there were Christmas light ice cycles hanging from the eave.  
I zoomed in and saw it was the sunlight coming through the boards of the roof.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

We're Back!

We had a good visit to the Mojave National Preserve.  Sinbad did great.  This is our first road trip in nearly a year.  I hadn't realized it had been that long.  But his health is much improved and it was just like old times.  The big difference now is he doesn't seem that interested in going out exploring.  I think this was due to him being nearly deaf now and he cannot hear the interesting noises in the brush that used to peak his curiosity.  Now he would just sit and stare outside for awhile then turn around and go back to sleep.  I'll get pictures together and start with them next week.

The other thing I noticed was now he cannot hear me approach the RV when I would return from a hike.  In the past I'd hear a "thump" as he would jump down from wherever to greet me at the door.  Now he isn't aware I am back.  It used to be a game we'd play to see if I could sneak up without him knowing but not anymore.