A Mindful Weekend In The Mojave Desert, part 2

IMG_1143

Last weekend I escaped the craziness in Las Vegas, and along with my dog I went for a zen weekend in the desert. To me it seemed like the perfect thing to do, before Christmas. I shared some photos in my last post. Here is some more of my favorite photos from that weekend.

IMG_1140.JPG

IMG_1134

The Mojave Desert is a harsh, but very spiritual, place. It’s as much a matrix as anything else in my life has been. Growing up in the desert has a different gestalt than growing up in a temperate zone, with its humidity and rainfall. As children growing up in the Mojave, we chased lizards and snakes, instead of frogs and squirrels. There is an arid openness about it, and a true feeling of being alone, that you don’t get in any other type of environment.
James Stanford, Shimmering Zen

IMG_1102

IMG_1100

IMG_1094.JPG

I did several hikes last weekend, but this was one of the most memorable ones.

IMG_1092

The gestalt of living in the desert, surrounded by the desert, was a big influence in my life and in the lives of other artists in this community. There are many artists and musicians who grew up as lonely kids in the desert with nothing to do, and who chose to channel their focus inward. In the Mojave Desert, numinous, mystical experiences are not as rare as one might think. The numinous is a part of the whole artistic experience for the desert artist.  James Stanford

IMG_1087IMG_1084

IMG_1082

IMG_1075

James Stanford is a local contemporary artist that I admire. I think it was fitting to match some things he have said about living in Mojave, to my photos from last weekend.

IMG_1072.JPG

IMG_1070

IMG_1062

IMG_1061

I’m going to let this beautiful Buckhorn Cholla be the last photo for this time. I hope your Christmas was fabulous! My daughter arrived safely, and it was a Christmas filled with love, laughter, good food, and a trip to Mount Charleston. Yes, we did see some wild horses too.

Love,

Ms Zen

 

A Mindful Weekend In The Mojave Desert

IMG_1149

Let the quiet of the Mojave desert tuck you in. That’s what I did this weekend. I escaped the craziness in Las Vegas, and along with my dog I took off for a zen weekend in the desert. To me it seemed like the perfect thing to do, before Christmas, and before getting my daughter back full-time (tomorrow!!!)

IMG_1150

IMG_1151

I spent the weekend exploring back roads that I’ve noticed on my visit three weeks ago, but didn’t have time to explore. I hiked a few shorter hikes. The most memorable up to Teutonia Peak. I climbed some big boulders, and spent time meditating on top of them.

IMG_1154

IMG_1157

IMG_1158

When you’re engulfed in a quiet sea of Joshua trees, and cacti, nothing disturbs your mind. I felt light and free, and emotional at the same time. Mojave National Preserve, it’s a 1.6 million acres park, you can easily spend a day without seeing one single soul, if you want. The cellphone reception is almost non-existing throughout the park, (some spots have a weak signal,) you need to keep in mind where you are at all times.

IMG_1159

IMG_1162

IMG_1163

IMG_1166

IMG_1171

I’m so grateful that I could invest in my peace of mind this weekend. Exercising, and meditating outdoors really does the trick for me. I feel on the right track to coming into my mommy role full time again…and exercised enough to enjoy some good Christmas food..LOL.

IMG_1173

IMG_1175

I took a lot of photos, this was a little taste of Mojave’s beauty.

Have a Merry Merry Christmas!!

Love,

Ms Zen

Mojave National Preserve

IMG_0910

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.

IMG_0921

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.

IMG_0951

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

IMG_0958

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.

IMG_0959

IMG_0961

IMG_0967

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.

IMG_0968

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.

IMG_0970

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

IMG_0977

IMG_0984

IMG_0985

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.

IMG_0995

IMG_0996

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.)

IMG_0999

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.

IMG_1027

IMG_1004

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.

IMG_1019

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.)

IMG_1022

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