About Me

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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March continues to roar in...

Goodness, what a wild weekend I had - weather wise, of course (wink, wink).  Storms swirled all around us for two days -  wind gusts, rain, spots of sun, some sleet, then snow! All within the matter of a couple of hours. Many of us are hoping to wake up to frozen roads and snow in the morning. One can hope but I'm not holding my breath. All I can hear now is wind knocking more things around outside. At least the desert got a good drink of water....

I spent both my weekend days out in the park in an ecology class. I've always thought a desert was an amazing habitat. A master at adaptation. Resilient. Frugal. Surprises of vibrant colors and softness amongst the rigid roughness of grand rock formations. And yet, still fragile - especially at the hands of humans. I'm too tired at the moment to expound much more but I will leave you with a few photos of my weekend. I am anxious to share tidbits of what I learned which I will do throughout this week when I have more time.

A break in the clouds before the next storm blew in. This is looking "up" Pinto Road back towards the main part of the park. We had driven from the Mojave Desert to the Colorado Desert within minutes...  Did you know that the Colorado Desert is part of the Sonoran Desert? I didn't, until today. There are four main desert biomes in the United States and all are located in the southwest region. The desert I live in, the Mojave, is probably more temperate than the others as far as temp extremes can go. We are mainly a rain shadow desert as all the moisture from the nearby Pacific Ocean gets held up at the mountain ranges and we usually get little of it. Not today though....strong winds pushed it right on over - in various states of precipitation no less - rain, sleet, and snow!

Pancake, beavertail, or prickly pear cactus? Could you tell the difference? Is this a succulent? If it is, is it a leaf succulent or a stem succulent?  What is the purpose of those thorns?

I will divulge what I learned in another post. Until then, take your best gander....

Coming out of the park the first day, we encounter this 'fella' on the side of the road, snout shoved into the run off water, drinking, drinking, drinking.....  Its 'biologist' was nearby, making sure the onlookers didn't harass it while it filled up. Apparently, this one is notorious for dashing out to the street whenever it rains, knowing that's where abundant water will be. Rain dropped into washes usually soaks deep into the sand too quickly for a tortoise to catch. Those nodules on its shell are transmitters so their whereabouts and habits can be monitored. In all my years out here, I've never seen a desert tortoise (not turtle) in the wild with monitors on it. Out here, it makes us happy to cross paths with one that is healthy and spunky like this one. Although, I don't know about drinking that nasty road run off water. Its monitoring biologist wondered the same thing....

2012 © Diana Shay Diehl / all images

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