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

 

Weekend Coffee Share – Thanksgiving Week

It’s almost 6 pm Sunday. This marvelous Thanksgiving week is over. I thought that I was slightly late with my weekend coffee share, just to find out that there is no official coffee share this week. Naturally I can’t let YOU down. Can I offer you some coffee? Or pherhaps tea, since it is so late? There is some leftover pumpkin pie (homemade from scratch of course,) in the fridge. Or if you’d eaten your share of pumpkin pie for this time, I have some warm rye bread straight from the oven, would you like to taste some? Maybe with some cheese?

How was your week? Did you celebrate Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones? Or maybe you live in a country where every day is the perfect day for giving thanks?

My daughter attended a family reunion on her dad’s side of the family, and I celebrated Thanksgiving with the family I work for, that kindly adopted me into their family. The whole week has been wonderful, so much good food, laughter, and love in the air.

As you probably know, I’m a minimalist. I don’t do a whole lot of shopping, only if I really need something. I had by no means planned to do any Black Friday shopping. Then I got a message that a telephoto zoom lens that I’ve had on my wish list for a long time, was on Best Buy’s Black Friday sale…well that changed the no shopping idea in my head. 

The photos in this post is from when I tried my new lens, in Red Rock National Conservation Area, this weekend.  

I think I’m going to have lots of fun with my new lens! Well, I already am.

There’s a few upcoming events that I’m looking forward to capture with my new lens this coming month, that would not of been the same with my old lens (which was a very cheap lens, and the only one I could afford at the time I upgraded my camera a few months ago.) I feel very motivated photography wise.

I’m getting to know my Canon EOS 6D Mark ii better by the day. Now with my new lens it’s going to be even more fun. The season offers a very comfortable climate, and there’s so many amazing places to explore around Las Vegas, that I haven’t seen yet. I’m due for another trip to Grand Canyon as well. My dog, Gretchen, have made a couple new friends, that she’s been playing with several times these past couple weeks. It’s two other German Shepherd girls. They have so much fun together, and I am happy for her. They speak the same language so to speak, and hit it off immediately. I’m envisioning a photo session with the three of them at a beautiful location in a near future. That would be so much fun!

Can I get you a refill on your coffee? 

As I’m writing this I feel so thankful, happy and completely satisfied with a magical week. I hope you feel it too! If you did write a coffee share post, or another post about your weekend, please feel free to post a link in the comments.  Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

Love,

Ms Zen

Fall – A Time To Play

There is a time for everything. Even the good book says so. I think fall is a time to play. I so love this beautiful fall weather we have! It’s been 78-80 degrees almost every day. After a hot hot summer it’s a wonderful relief. My body appreciate this weather. Even the cold, chilly evenings (don’t laugh my northern friends. I mean chilly for here.. lol.)

Last Sunday I was sitting outside, relaxing by the pool for several hours. Something that would of given me a heat stroke a few weeks ago. I’m so enjoying this amazing fall weather.

I can tell that my dog enjoys it as well. She is more comfortable, eating better, and her coat looks better as well. Her coat didn’t really like swimming in the pool 20-30 times/day….(her coat was the only one having an objection.)

I am filled with gratitude for the life that I feel returning. The cooler weather sooths my soul. I can’t tell you enough, how wonderful it is. My viking blood can never really get used to the desert heat. That said, now, this time of the year, everything is perfect. It’s beautiful, the air is crisp. I’m inspired to get out, and stay out all day long. I’m itching to explore some more hiking trail. I have several that I’m hoping to explore within the next few weeks. (The only thing keeping me from doing so is the fact that I’m in between vehicles. I’m looking at trucks every day. So I will find one soon. The right one.)

I’m both eager to explore the trails for the sake of exploring new territory, and enjoy nature, but also because I want to experiment with my new camera. (If 3 months old is still new? It’s still new to me, since I don’t know it inside out yet.) I got a new bookshelf yesterday. It’s a short one, shaped like a cube, with four shelves within. Just perfect for the corner between my bedroom window, and the closet. I put my most precious, inspiring books there,  and placed my camera on top (safely away from little curious hands..) but still in the open, where I will see it all the time. I’m thinking that it’s going to both remind me, and inspire me to take more photos. Something I usually do every day, but because of the heavy work load lately, I have almost forgotten my love. I already used it several times. Picked it up, experimented with the settings, captured some moments here and there. I’m starting to get more and more excited about the camera, just like I knew I would be. I’ve also decided to order a big print of one of my favorite photos from Grand Canyon (I’m thinking of this one. Or, I might have to go back and capture a sunrise?) To remind me of more adventures, and how I refuel my batteries. Do you have a strategy to refuel your batteries this time of the year?

I hope your week is everything good you can imagine.

Love,

Ms Zen

(Ps. The photos in this post are simple photos taken with my old iPhone 4… I know, it is time for a new phone..that will be sometime after a 4×4 vehicle, and a telephoto zoom lens, unless it breaks before that. I’m not a material girl, I just want things to work, for their given purpose. The right tools, that will do the job, allowing me to focus on the important stuff. LOL.)