Blog: Not the Usual Places

  1. It’s Only Been Two Years…

    The first time I went to the desert was January 2017. It feels like a lifetime ago. In the intervening time my mind has been crammed with weird facts, a plethora of plant and animal knowledge, desert survival stuff, lessons learned. I have Paiute and Shoshone friends, I know people…

  2. A Trip to Death Valley’s Backcountry

    Recently ventured up into new territory for me at the invite of a fellow desert explorer. My Nissan Frontier handled the roads up to the camping spot handily despite not having four wheel drive. It would not have made it further along however but Kevin volunteered the mountain goat qualities…

  3. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

    I’m standing on a pale slope. Limestone falls away in plates forever. Bristlecone stands twisted, pirouettes like horn on the mountainside. Some have split and fallen two-pronged and yet live. Green needles, vibrant against the pallor of all else. To the northwest clouds gather and I can see long filmy

  4. Petroglyphs By Children?

    My father drove down from living off grid in the Saskatchewan bush country to visit my California wilderness with me. I took him to the place that ignited my love of the desert and where I first encountered petroglyphs. I knew there were more in the area than I’d previously found, so…

  5. Don’t Go…

    This is one of my favorite experiences though it was mildly alarming when it happened. I have a ritual when leaving the desert. I stop at the petroglyphs I found, place my hand on the cool rock and thank them and this rugged country for tolerating my presence.  The wind…

  6. New Discoveries: February 2019

    I visited the cave I’d discovered some while ago to check on it, make sure it was undisturbed. To give you an idea of how easy it is to miss things in country like this, I walked right past it and had to backtrack even knowing it was there. It’s that…

  7. Curiosities in the Hinterlands

    Did some more extensive exploring in regions I’ve visited before and turned up some really interesting finds! The first was this mining claim for Talc Queen No. 3, dated August 15, 1940. Did a little digging (no pun intended) and ran across these entries in a 1940 census:  George W.…

  8. Cave Discovery and Traces of Ancient Peoples

    There is considerable back story to how I ended up locating this site. I’d recommend anyone not familiar with my previous adventure out on Lee Flat to read that first for context: https://www.joshpatterson.photo/not-the-usual-places/an-adventure-in-the-mojave I went back up to my petroglyph find this past weekend determined to further explore the area,…

  9. One Hell of a Weekend in the Desert

    How the hell did I get myself into this scrape? I wondered as I sat under the one Joshua Tree that provided some shade but did little to shield me from the gusts of wind whipping up from the flat below. My skin felt like fine-grit sandpaper, my lips were…

  10. Mount Baden Powell

    There is a moment on the trail when the wind becomes playful. Its skirls mingle with fine soil. Earth and air dance in the honeyed light of the evening sun. The wind soughs through the outstretched fingers of the conifers - a vast, lonely sound. An entire forest singing. A…