Mojave National Preserve

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Remember, your safety is your responsibility. 

The above text is the National Park Service message to you, as you enter Mojave National Preserve. A trip there was the big adventure last weekend. Before sharing my adventure, I want to apologize that I have not gotten back to all comments, and email from the last coffee share. I haven’t had access to the internet this week. I appreciate all comments, and emails a lot, and I am working on getting back to each and every one.

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Mojave National Preserve, is a 1.6 million acre park between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, on the California side. It offers amazing solitude, sand dunes, rock formations, Joshua Trees, mountains, canyons, and incredible cactus gardens. Basically a big playground for hikers, and nature lovers. LOL.

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I’ve always been impressed by plants (and animals, and people,) that thrive under the most harsh conditions.

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It’s a tranquil beauty that greets visitors to this park. Winter is the perfect time to go for hikes in the desert, as it gets very hot during the summer time. I remember driving through Joshua Tree National Park (the neighbor to this park,) in July one year, I literally prayed that I would not get a flat tire throughout the whole drive. My girl was an infant, and even though I had a lot of water (I never travel without water,) and I know how to change a flat, just the thought of having any kind of trouble in that heat felt life threatening. (We did not have any kind of trouble.) I’m big into safety, and being prepared for everything, that said, a visit to the desert during winter time is much more enjoyable. Last weekend was magical.

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I’m having the last picture (of the sun lighting up a buckhorn cholla,) turned into a wood print (the photo printed on birch wood,) as a Christmas gift for one of my friends. A few years back when I had an Equine Photography business wood prints was one of my trade marks. It’s very personable. I like how the wood has life in it, making the photo more alive somehow.

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LOVE the wide open spaces, and lack of ugly human structures. Getting absorbed in the humble quietness of this enormous desert, feels revitalizing for the soul.

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The elevation, and the temperature changes a lot throughout the park. Some of the mountain peaks in the distance was covered with snow.

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There is actually no entrance fee to this incredible park, which is highly unusual. There are campgrounds with modest fees, most of them are on a first come first serve basis. You should plan on bringing everything you need (lots of drinking water, and clothes,) and not be dependent on any help with your camping to enjoy a stay here.

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My German Shepherd loved our little adventure. I did see a lot of coyote scat (poop,) on several places, so if you have a small dog I would be cautious. If you look at the photo above, and zoom in on Gretchen’s (my dogs) right ear, it wears the marks of her battling of a coyote from our property last summer. She got some scars on her ear, and got one of her nails ripped out. I wouldn’t personally be scared of a coyote, but I would be careful with a smaller dog (as always in wilderness areas.)

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Mohave Yucca

Yucca in the wild actually has several edible parts, the sweet fruit (not in the photo) one of the most popular. You can make a very efficient soap of the roots, if you’re into a self sufficient lifestyle. I’m very fascinated of how nature provides everything we need, if we just take the time to get the knowledge. (Could you, would you, be fine without being able to go to the grocery store every week? Or would it be a night mare for you?) The fibers in the stem have long been used for weaving baskets and other items. There’s millions and millions of them here in Mohave, and surrounding desert areas.

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I saw the biggest Joshua Trees I’ve ever seen. This one was 25+ft tall. My friend John taught me that they can live to be 700 years! Like WOW! That’s pretty incredible. Imagine if they could talk, what stories they would tell.

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I could easily live here. Being surrounded by this beauty is pure bliss. I did not want to leave. As we were leaving a couple parked there air stream trailer on one of the side roads, just as they sun was setting in the sky. It was the perfect picture (that I didn’t take out of respect for their privacy. They were obviously in the middle of a fantastic experience.)

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I hope you enjoyed this virtual trip to Mojave. Have you been to this park? Would you like to go?

It’s almost weekend, and I hope you’ll be back for a nice chat over some coffee.

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Sweet Memories

The theme of this week’s Sunday Stills, is Lazy Days. Well…I don’t think that I ever been called lazy in my whole life. I’ve been called a lot of things, but never lazy. I like to stay busy. Not in the nervous I can’t relax kind of way. I just feel satisfied when I work with my hands; in the garden, baking bread, grooming a horse etc.

There’s only been one exception, and I enjoyed that exception immensely. It was the first six months of my daughter’s life. The oxytocin high from nursing put me in a content emotional state, that was very relaxing, in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. I rented a house in the beautiful Napa Valley (CA.) It was nestled among vineyards, in a picture perfect setting. There was ten acres belonging to the house, (and the neighbors had a bigger property that I had access to as well.) My daughter and I went for long, dreamy walks, and spent hours on the back porch over looking the pond in the picture. Those are the closest to lazy days that I have ever experienced. I don’t want to go back to them, but I sure appreciate the sweet memory. Looking back, it feels almost unreal.

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A sweet senior dog that adopted me, on the first ranch I worked at in California, is buried overlooking this pond. Neikka was old when I first met her, around 12-13 years old. She refused to leave my side. I knew her almost two years before her time was up. She was definitely sent to make things easier for me. She had problems with her eyes when we met, and later on she became completely blind. That did not stop her from doing her duty, which she thought was to be by my side, no matter what. I sometimes tried to lock her up in my yard (3acres,) if I was planning on going for a longer trail ride, that I thought was going to be too much for her. The fence was 6 ft high. She was part greyhound, and cleared that fence, even after she became blind. One time she even attacked a black bear that she thought was too close to me. The bear wasn’t actually a threat, he was busy eating blackberries. The bear just pushed her away, and kept eating. Lucky for us. She got some scratches from the incident, but not bad. She certainly deserved the most beautiful resting place my loyal Neikka. 

How is your weekend so far? Fancy left for her new home yesterday, and I received photos of her in her new home. Her new family is very happy, and she looks happy, which makes me happy.  I know that they are going to love her a lot, and I feel extremely good about her home. Ghost’s home fell through, and I need to find him a new one. Sooner than later. I said no to several people after this family committed to him, because I really liked them, and they seemed knowledgable. I’ve started to contact the people I turned down before..It was a very emotional day. It ended in the best possible way with a visit to a Mexican Restaurant I hadn’t been to before, and the company of a good friend. 

I’m going to work hard on a home for Ghost, and finding a reliable car for me today. I looked at some cars yesterday. I’m not a mechanic, but if I find something questionable with a car, it’s probably not a good car..lol. Since I am going to drive through the desert a week from now it need to be a good one. Some places on the way have spotty cellphone reception. 

I hope that you’re having an awesome weekend! 

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share 

Wow, this week have gone by so fast! Maybe it’s the haze, and the smoke in the air that’s lulling me into some kind of dream land? Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m in the middle of planning, an unexpected move to another state? I don’t know. How is your week so far? Grab a cup of coffee and tell me about it! 

How are things here? Well, things are going really good. Unexpectedly smooth. The pieces are just coming together one by one. I’ve found wonderful homes for my horses. They are leaving Saturday (tomorrow…) That is such a great relief. I couldn’t be happier with their new homes. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to them. My intention was to keep them for life. Knowing that they couldn’t get better homes makes it easier. The first person who looked at Fancy bought her, and her friend wanted Ghost. Just perfect. My intuition tells me that they are really good people. 

I’ve packed all the things I’m planning to bring with me when I move, sold some of the bigger items, and donated the rest to fire victims. I feel light, and ready for new adventures. I’m working my last day here in California on the 20th. Only ten days from now! My goal is to find a reliable car this weekend, and sell my old truck as soon as I have another vehicle. That’s basically the only thing left to do. That is totally doable. I’m going to work a little extra these last days, which is just perfect. I’m slowly finishing up in my garden. I’ve given all my container fruit trees, and plants, to a friend. My tomatoes, yellow squash, and cucumber are still giving a good harvest every day. I’m harvesting in the mornings, and water a little, but I’m not doing much else in the garden. It’s going to go towards it’s natural end eventually. A garden in our extreme climate take a lot of work every day, and there’s no-one that’s going to do the work when I leave. It’s been a fun summer gardening wise. I’m very happy. 

I have several job, and housing offers waiting in Nevada. I want to see things with my own eyes, and meet people, before deciding. That said, I know what I want. When I’m there it’s not going to take a long time to decide. I wish to get into some kind of normal routine as soon as possible. 

I know that there’s been an unusual little amount of photos lately. I’s due to the fire. It’s dangerous to spend a lot of time outside in that smoke. The Carr Fire is now 178,752 acres and 49% contained. Still very smoky. I’m trying to be smart about it. I can’t wait to breath some fresh air, without a mask. I promise to make up for the lack of photos when I start my upcoming road trip. I’m actually excited about the drive. I’ve always enjoyed road trips, and their photo opportunities. As you probably know 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about? All are welcome! 

I hope you’re having an awesome week!

 

Love,

Ms Zen