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The Sonoran Desert

Jennifer and I have been wandering in the desert for the last forty days and forty nights, first in the Mojave in California, and for most of January, the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. We have visited Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Saguaro National Park, and the Sonoran National Monument, which is literally out the back door of our RV park here at Gila Bend. One beautiful feature of the desert is our ability to wander in any direction our hearts desire. You don’t have to go very far before you are completely alone in a vastness that defies words. And it is stunningly beautiful.

The most common plant here is the creosote bush (see the second image in the slideshow). Though completely unphotogenic, they are interconnected underground and may live longer than anything else on earth. One is believed to be more than 10,000 years old. Much more photogenic are the many varieties of cactus, so it’s no surprise this post is mainly about my take on cacti.

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Kelso Dunes

For my final post of 2016 – a year on the road for Jennifer and me – some images of Kelso Dunes in what is now Mojave National Monument, which we visited before Christmas. We arrived after several windy days and made “first tracks” on some 700-ft high dunes. It was enchanting.

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Purcell Murals – Chloride

I don’t usually post photos of other artists’ work, but rock murals painted by Roy Purcell, which he started around 1967, were so captivating that I can’t resist sharing some here. Located just outside the charming old mining town of Chloride AZ, they incorporate an eclectic mix of Pre-Historic, Biblical, Native American, and New Age symbolism and styling. Captions represent my take on Purcell’s imagery.

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Day-Hikes

During our month at Needles, we did a number of hikes I have not posted until now. They were hikes more about the enjoyment of nature than photography, but I can’t resist the odd shot.

Jennifer and I liked the Black Mountains near Oatman so much that we returned to the area a couple times. Walking though endless slopes of Cholla (pronounced choi-ya) Cactus was a delight. Another hike was through Grapevine Canyon, at the southern tip of Nevada, which contains a natural spring, grapevines, and ancient Mojave petroglyphs. Our last hike not too far from Needles was a portion of the Whipple Mountains Wilderness, an area that looks like a moonscape.

 

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Hualapai Skywalk

As I said in my previous post, we went to the Grand Canyon and checked out the Skywalk on the Hualapai Reservation. The Skywalk itself was a disappointment, but the views of the canyon from several points along the rim  – not to mention the helicopter ride (previous post) were spectacular.

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