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November 11th, 2008

Climb Me

Escaping the megalopolis, escaping the thousands of words, I spent a day looking up at rocks and sky in the glorious wilderness that is Joshua Tree.

I used to climb, and Joshua Tree was always one of the places I dreamed of touching the rock, hauling myself up on the wide expanses of pink granite on the Saddle, and completing a Walk On The Wild Side. Seeing it, well, that was something else. The dreamed rock was real, solid, rooted in earth and glowing under bright skies.

Last week in Joshua Tree I did a little scrambling, just because.

Climb Me

Some day I will climb here, losing myself in the interface between rock, hands and feet, living in the moment of the motion and the move, relishing the challenge of the crux and the exhiliration of the top.

On the wall

I will be an Alice in the Wonderland of Rocks. Climb me, they call, and I will answer them.

Joshua Tree, California
November 2008

Cholla Halo

Joshua Tree is where two deserts meet.

The south is the Colorado, the driest desert in the US, home of the massive Teddy-Bear Cholla cactus. The north is the Mojave, dotted with the eponymous joshua trees - giant lillies.

At the bottom of the Pinto Basin is what the national park labels a "Cholla Garden", where hundreds of spiny armed cacti reach up to the bright bright desert skies.

Cholla Halo

Under the spiny skin is a wooden mesh framework, where it stores water for the long dry months.

Structural meshes

The cholla reproduce by dropping off arms that root and grow another new plant. Most of the time the yellow fruit have no seeds - it's only rarely that they're fertile.

Yellow Tips

Next time, I'm going to go in spring to see the flowers.

Joshua Tree, California
November 2008