Monday, March 30, 2009

Desert Color

I think most people think the desert is pretty barren. I've always found it anything but and during certain times of the year, it can be pretty spectacular. Sometimes, the color in the desert is natural and sometimes it's manufactured. And sometimes, it's a combination of both.

When I was out in Shoshone this past week, I found several caches that fit the bill for different types of color. One cache was hidden outside a broken down laundry facility near a campground. The campground was situated on top of a dry lake bed, which, for the most part makes it pretty barren. The laundry facility was built up on top of concrete blocks. It was a permanent building, so during times of rain in the desert, it would stay high and dry above the lake that would form after a good rainstorm.

The facility is in disrepair now, but there was an interesting old truck outside of the place. It had the neatest color composition, sort of a combination, primer, rust, old paint all blended together for some kind of surreal pop art type of vehicle. Looking at the tires, they were low, but it looked like the truck hadn't been parked there very long and could conceivably still be driven. I think it would definitely turn some heads if it had been taken for a spin. Out in the desert, it looked right at home.

At another spot I found a cache near an old cemetery that appeared to be still active. I've always been one to look at old cemeteries when I happen to stumble across them. Some of them are quite haunting. Usually, you can get a glimpse of the history of the region by looking at the tombstones and the dates on the headstones. Entire families die because of some kind of disease or disaster. Looking through older cemeteries, you can see the epidemics and swept the world at different times show up on a smaller scale. The 1918 flu epidemic at the end of World War I shows up quite dramatically in older cemeteries .

Many cemeteries in the desert tend to be located in very peaceful spots, usually with good views and this one was no exception. I remarked in my log that this particular spot would be a bad spot to spend eternity, since it had a view that was absolutely gorgeous. Although, I also noted that it wouldn't hurt me a bit if I had to wait another 40 years before I decided to take up residence in the place.

Then on Sunday, the Tadpole and I went caching in the high desert just west of Victorville. We were also looking for a virtual flag up here and after parking close to where it was, we made a quarter mile hike to snag the flag. As we walked through the desert at this particular point, it was like walking on a yellow carpet. Tiny little sunflowers, no bigger than a quarter inch across were in bloom as far as the eye could see.

My picture doesn't do it justice, but I loved the way the ground was covered in yellow, while I could still see snow on the mountains that separated the high desert from the Los Angeles basin. In a few short weeks, this natural carpet will be gone, withered away as the temperatures start to climb to three digits. But all the seeds these flowers produce will support another natural carpet next year after the rainy season has concluded. We just got lucky this year that we happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Tecopa Wash-Up - by Mr. and Mrs. Rhino
Cemetery Cache - by 3blackcats
4474 - by Mr. & Mrs. Wisearse

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