Friday, May 2, 2008
Camping, Day 2
I said I would post day two of camping "tomorrow", but since it is now FRIDAY, I guess that was wishful thinking on my part!!! Sorry about that. I hope I didn't disappoint anyone.
I took so many photographs of our camping trip, it is unlikely that I will be able to post even half of them. It has taken me several hours just to sort through them all, and choose a few for this blog post. That's what vacation is for, though, right? Taking a zillion photographs that no one really wants to see anyway. So at least our getaway fulfilled that photograph part of the bargain. It seems like no matter how many photographs I take, it is hard for me to really capture what it felt like to me, being there. I am finding this is especially true for the desert flowers. I mean, they are spectacular and all that, and I do think I have gotten one or two decent shots. However, the way I feel out in the desert, surrounded by these clumps of unexpected color is just impossible to relay to you with a photograph. Maybe it's because when we first moved here, I was inwardly appalled at how dry and desolate it felt. Everything looked dead, hot, dry and shrivelled. Now, I am getting to know the dust and shrubby stuff intimately, and suddenly, with what seemed like hardly any rain, I am surrounded by this unexpected display!!! It has caught me by surprise. I had no idea a desert could look like it has this year. And of course, as I have mentioned in previous posts, this is an exceptional year for flowers.
After we left the Trona pinnacles, we headed up through the Panamint Valley and on to Darwin. On our way through the Panamint Valley, we stopped by the road to let the dog out, and I came upon the blooms of the Southwestern Thorn Apple (Datura Wrightii). Magnificent!!! It is quite a large blossom, about 6" in diameter, and the tips of the petal are lavender in color. It is a member of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae).
After Matthias got sick of waiting for me to photograph a flower with a bug on it(a photo that didn't even turn out, as it happens), we headed up a winding, steep road toward Darwin, and as we were winding our way up, we looked up to see 3 other VW vanagons sitting on an overlook above us! So of course, when we got to the top, we had to go and join them for VW comparisons. They were a delightful bunch of people, from California and Washington States. Matthias became engaged with one man, talking about Vans, whereas Pono and I climbed down a bit of hillside to be shown by a few of the others what geocaching is all about. I had never heard of it before. I won't go into it here, but if you are interested, you can click here. Fun!
After our little rendez-vouz with the other vanagons, we continued toward Darwin. We did a little hike to the top of Ophir Mountain. We could look right down on the town of Darwin. We also visited an old mining claim. It was actually claimed, even though it didn't look like it was still being used.
We camped at Cactus Flats, where we had camped once last fall. It is so pretty there, and the flowers were really spectacular. As I told you, despite taking almost 50 photos, I really don't think I convey the wonder. Nonetheless, I will share a few photos. There was one shrub in particular that I became enamored by. I have not been able to find it in my flower book, but it looked like it started a yellow green color, and then changed to a deep reddish pink. It was wonderful, the color of this bush amid the other reds, greens, yellows and blues. I took many photos of it. The flower that stole the show was the Indian Paintbrush. It was so vibrant, it overpowered the other flowers. It seems like red is a rare color, when it comes to wildflowers. Yellow seems to be the most common color.
We spent a cold night in Cactus Flats, since it is a good deal higher in elevation than Trona. I woke up with aching joints, having spent the night curled up in a tiny ball trying to stay warm. It was still a wonderful camping trip, and we remain happy with our "Gordita" - little fatty.