I remember when I was a college student in Los Angeles looking at a map, and seeing a mere centimeter away the vast and sharply contrasted Mojave Desert, marked cleanly by a western point in the Antelope Valley, and spreading indiscriminately eastward towards the great American Southwest.
To a coastal Californian such as myself, the Mojave Desert was a great mystery, a foreign land. I had never seen a desert in my recollection, and I didn’t quite know what to make of one that was, in reality, so close to the ocean. Looking at a map, it didn’t make sense to me that at one moment, I could be in the forests of the Angeles Crest, and then a mere mile or two away, be standing in the greatest of the North American deserts. So one fine day, to appease my curiosity, I decided to drive to Lancaster. It changed my life.
I have been back to the Mojave Desert over a dozen times. I have never lived there, but I often fantasize about being amongst vast ranges and valleys, vistas, junipers and sage, the endless Joshua Tree forests, waking up to the sun rising over the grizzly mountains and listening to nothing but the sound of wind through the web of sagebrush.
My friends on coasts have never understood my love of desert. Lately, on a trip to Joshua Tree and the Mojave Preserve, I took some pictures:
Technically the above picture isn’t the Mojave Desert, but rather the transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. Details, details.