Blog: Not the Usual Places
Cowhorn Valley is a high desert valley at an elevation of around 6800 feet in the Inyo National Forest. Long vistas of sage, tawny in winter spread across the valley and up the mountain slopes. Scattered juniper and pinyon pines, dark against the sage, line the ridges. It is a…
Return to the Mountain
This is a wondrous place. At the highest points it is primarily a mixed pinyon and juniper forest with ground cover consisting mainly of sagebrush and rabbitbrush. The rabbitbrush’s yellow blooms are a vivid counterpoint to the endless subtle shades of green that typify the region.
In the canyons where…
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…
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…
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…
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.
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…
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:
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,…
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…
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