Winter Dances: The Desert / by chris miele

Moonlight dances between revealing and hiding layers of earth.  Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

The desert is for dreamers.

Magnetic in its draw, energetic in its presence, the wild call of the desert has become impossible to ignore for Erin and I.  If you explore deep enough... the silence is piercing, only the sound of the wind grounds you to reality.  Freedom is on tap in the deserts of the American West, and rightfully so.  Rugged terrain, scorching sands, and starry night skies meld together forming a frontier only fit for those willing to vanish into the horizon as the sun wavers and ignites the sky.        

Shine on.  Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

 

 

Escape.  We had to flee winter's chill and muted skies.

California was calling for our seasonal business visit and you sure as shit didn't have to twist our arms to vacate winter.  Woven into our usual stays in LA and San Diego were two desert stops; Joshua Tree and Tucson.  One a familiar muse and the other a virgin adventure.  We needed to bask in the moonlight as the sharp high desert wind cut through the air.  We needed to feel the soul recharging February rays further south in the Sonoran Desert.  We needed the release only the desert could provide.   

 

Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

Paint me a picture, desert sky.  Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

 

Bend with the clouds.  Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

 
 

 

The deep Southwest, most notably Tucson had eluded both Erin and I, and for the first time we planned on attending to Tucson Gem show.  For three days we wandered the city streets hand selecting crystals, gems, and fossils for Eldorado.  To balance the day's work, we made it a point to wrap up in time to venture into the desert for sunset.  Tucson is flanked by mountain, cactus, and arid wilderness as Saguaro National Park sits both east and west of the city, providing an easy escape in under an hour.  Before the sun dipped too far on the horizon, we headed west each day to climb the hills and walk among the mighty Saguaro cacti forests that carpeted the region.  Gargantuan in size and coveted in their lore, the Saguaros were even more cartoon-like than imagined.  15, 20, some even over 30 feet tall, it's no wonder these monsters are the symbol of the desert west.

 

Well aren't you a tall drink of water...   Tucson Mountain Park, AZ.

 

Tucson Mountain Park, AZ.

Surprise moonrise cameo.  Tucson Mountain Park, AZ.

Surprise moonrise cameo.  Tucson Mountain Park, AZ.

 

Witching hour.  Saguaro National Park, AZ.

 

Saguaro carpeting.  Tucson Mountain Park, AZ.

The vastness is inviting.

Far from shocking, but this trip really revealed to us how much more we need to explore the deep southwest.  Aside from the cacti covered valleys, the hills surrounding Tucson also harbor snow capped peaks, waterfalls, and hidden caves, we just needed more time.  We hadn't even hit the road to leave and I was already scanning maps of the area and making mental notes of what and where to research.  With the gem show already on our calendar for 2018, you can bet I'll have the adventure scheudle tuned up and ready for our return. 

Send off salute.  Saguaro National Park, AZ.