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Meteor Showers and Monsoon Wildflowers

August 22, 2015

barefoot at Joshua Tree National Park

It’s already been ten days, so who knows if they’re still in bloom, but earlier this month I headed for the desert to experience the Perseid meteor shower and was delighted by a carpet of yellow wildflowers at Joshua Tree National Park.

August wildflowers at Joshua Tree National Park

creosote in bloom at Joshua Tree National Park

carpet of yellow wildflowers at Joshua Tree National Park

Yellow wildflower carpet at Joshua Tree National Park

When I arrived in mid-afternoon, mid-week, the calm desert air was August-hot and the whole park seemed empty. “Hooray,” I thought. “This should be a lovely quiet night to watch falling stars in peace and quiet and did I mention I came out here for PEACE AND QUIET??!!”

It was not to be.

As soon as the day began to fade, people people people crawled seemingly out of nowhere (OK, they crawled out of their expensive SUVs) and began staking claims to the best rocks from which to view the upcoming show which must have been hyped by more than a few So Cal media outlets.

getting ready for the meteor shower

So, instead of night solitude and awe and isolated contemplation of streaking lights in the immense sky and my place in the universe . . . this:

headlights in the desert

The way my camp site was situated, I got a major dose of headlights as a constant parade of cars cruised the campground looking for a (non-existent) place to park.

I was, however, able to squeeze a little entertainment value out of the evening . . . since I had decided to spend the night tentless in the back of my truck, whenever I was roused from nightmare by the irritating rumble of a car engine idling a few feet away, I would raise up (maybe a bit dramatically, maybe not) from the truck bed and–usually, hopefully–startle the crud out of whoever it was who thought it was a good idea to park in my camp site for a while at 1 in the morning.

Yes, there were more than a few streaks of light to enjoy . . . some with glowing tails that lingered in the tangle of more permanent stars . . . but I was almost relieved when the sky began to lighten, bringing hope that the night of midnight giggling boulder scramblers was almost done.

morning at Joshua Tree National Park

ravens on rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Before I headed home, I did a bit of bouldering myself . . .  barefoot, of course. These monzogranitic rocks offered fantastic texture and (too much?) traction, but I think a whole day of scrambling without shoes might be more exfoliation than my feet could afford.

barefoot bouldering Joshua Tree National Park

On the way out of the park, I stopped to stroll the nature trail through the lush cholla garden . . .

cholla garden at Joshua Tree National Park

(Do I need to say it? OK I will:  . . . barefoot, of course.)

barefoot with cholla

Happy Desert Trails!


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