I had wanted to go the desert for a long time but it was way too hot in the summer when I moved to California. November rolled around I figured it was finally cool enough to head to Red Rock Canyon State Park, only about 90 miles northeast of L.A
After about an hour on the roadwe came to a prairie covered with scrub brush, and sandy hills devoid of houses or trees. After two hours we arrived in the forlorn little town of Mojave, a dusty little community in the middle of nowhere. You might think that it’s always hot in the desert, but it was only about 50 degrees and with a strong wind blowing it felt even colder. We stopped at a strange little thrift store there, dirt cheap, and I bought a purplish Native American-looking poncho and Jonathan purchased a purple shirt.
Twenty-five miles further down, the road started to cut through rocky, reddish hills which led to the entrance to the park. I was immediately struck by this moon-like landscape, as I’d never seen this kind of topography before. After buying a few postcards at the visitor center we hit the trail. Before us was a bizarre rock edifice, a strange cliff wall full of holes and fissures, looking a bit like an ancient city or perhaps a huge, melting cake. We ate lunch on a bench on top, looking over strange, blackened hills, valleys filled with Joshua trees, and of course the red rocks that were scattered throughout the area. The wind was blowing and I felt free and alive in a way that I seldom do in the city.
We then crossed the street and came upon a strange valley surrounded by stoney crags, all of them a strange reddish color. There wasn’t another soul around, and Jonathan and I were able to sit in this shallow cave, sort of like an alcove in the hillside, all by ourselves for awhile. Shadows were growing long by this time, and we knew we couldn’t stay. We blazed back to Mojave, having dinner at a deserted Mexican restaurant.
The drive home was lovely, as a deep red sunset made for a beautiful backdrop for the silhouetted Joshua trees that I photographed from the window.I had finally been to the desert and Jonathan was relieved that I enjoyed myself. On the contrary…it was this trip that inspired my next excursion to the Joshua Tree National Monument.
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