blooming prayer - part two of our spring trip, joshua tree

disclaimer: this might be the world's longest post. i just love these places and these people too much to leave anything out. i am not known for my restraint; forgive me, or skip this one ;) if you can't bear many many pictures of sunny springtime desert love.


next stop: Joshua Tree. we arrived mid afternoon after a difficult (fussy) car ride through some crazy terrain in the mojave preserve, middle of nowhere, no one else on the road for miles and miles, it started to seem like we had crossed into an alternate universe that had completely forgotten southern california and decided we were on a vacant and rocky planet instead.

but then we hit old route 66, and then a loop and dive down into those dusty little junkworn desert towns, 29 palms, yucca valley, here we are again! feels like home, and it feels damn good! 


like last time, we stayed in a family friend's well-loved little desert hideaway fondly referred to as "the Ranch." it's so nice to have a comfy spot to call our own while we enjoy desert adventures. careworn and carefree, surrounded by cactus and horses, crows and jackrabbits, it is a true desert bungalow.


meanwhile, addie and art had also arrived in J-Tree and had checked into the infamous Joshua Tree Inn. the site of gram parson's death is as lovely and haunting as you'd wish it to be. turquoise doors, wrought iron chairs, blooming roses, doves and hummingbirds, chiminea, pond, musical shrine, chai tea tasting and artwork in the lobby offered up by a smiling dreadlocked host, and of course, a crystalline swimming pool. 


the water was surprisingly cold and darin was the only one to brave a real dip.


though our babes certainly don't mind getting their tootsies wet!








we headed over to pappy & harriets for some good old fashioned footstomping and roadside dining. the band was playing moony-groovy space rock music and lucy went nuts for it! she would not stop bouncing and dancing and was completely enraptured by the lead singer. both babies were entranced in fact, and addie has since reported that utah totally chills when they play the record they bought.



we stayed out late and our little gal slept like a champ in our desert retreat.


while my nightbird wizard photographed the moon, the stars, the desert and himself.




days dawn with such vigor when you're on the road. a sense of utter anticipation, where will we go, what sights will fill our eyes and minds today, what will we learn? Lucy got to spend some morning time crawling and playing so we were off to a great start.

we spent most of the day at Joshua Tree National Park.
before our first little hike, i made time for a quick outfit shot. don't you think the trucker hat quite compliments my romantic look ;) and yep, i am definitely most comfortable hiking in skirts. and cowboy boots up to a point.

lucy loves hikes. perfect naptime. she was out so deeply on this mid morning gallivant to the old dam, and it was so hot that i worried she might be passed out. but nope, just utterly peaceful.


dusty trails, flickering shade of the paloverde tree, a laugh of color in the corner of your eye in a cactusflower, and a sky so blue it blinds you. i love hiking in joshua tree.



so many things in bloom that the desert seems positively perky!

(i'm researching the names as i go, so correct me if i'm wrong on any of these!)

encelia farinosa, brittlebush, mini sunflowers giving the sandy floor a yellow flare.

salazaria mexicana, or paperbag bush. i want to pop these in my mouth like candies.


opuntia basilaris - beavertail cactus. MY FAVORITE. that burst of color just makes my heart pitter patter every time.


enchinocereous triglochidiatus the bold and beautiful Mojave Mound.


here, the remnants of the watering hole built for cattle in the early 20th century. can you imagine rustling and raising cattle here? 







we strayed to view petroglyphs. although the images are beautiful, you might be thinking, no...those look like pictographs. rock paintings. nope, these beautiful historic marks were tragically vandalized in the 1960s by a film crew seeking to make them more vivid. they were painted. i climbed up to take a closer look but the false colors made the examination bittersweet.


joshua tree is full of strange and striking rock formations that make you think of a crazy sci-fi fantasy world. a world of make believe, giant dead skulls that stand for eons. everything gritty and somehow off-kilter, a dreamscape.


rock, bone, spine, flower. walking here, you feel like the skin of the earth, patched together with yucca twine, softened with a puff of globemallow. walk long enough, you blend into the earth.


just be sure to drink plenty of water!



we rambled while daddy did some bouldering. i asked her, "where's daddy?" and she chattily replied "da-da!"and looked at me authoritatively. she proceeded to practice da-da and i'm calling it officially her first word :)




and there he is, our hero himself, way up there at the tippy top!



in the early evening we met up in town with addie and art and utah who had attended the stagecoach festival. we had a sweet little thrifting-cooling off-beer drinking break. 






at riccochet we met this sweet woman and her four year margot; they loved our baby cousins.


after such a full day of desert wanders it was good to head back to the ranch and enjoy a mellow twilight.


a family portrait.

then guess who joined us to spend the night? some little cowboy who is becoming quite the chipper dude!




no wonder lucy can't keep her mitts off him ;)




ooh, dusty desert baby heaven.


we fashioned one last group portrait before heading our separate ways the next morn....


when you try to pick out anything by itself, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe. - john muir

good-bye to the tree of life, yucca brevifolia, sweet placid joshua trees with your white blossoms and your kindly arms full of lizards and woodpeckers, your woodrat nests and your stance of prayer. 

we packed up our babe and our bags, stopped for delicious coffee, and hit the road coastways for family visits and many more adventures....

Comments

Anonymous said…
I love this! I'm a desert woman at heart and I loved the pictures and history. Thank you!
Jessica said…
What a beautiful vacation! I've always wanted to visit the desert-your trip has inspired me to plan my own someday soon!
dolly anna said…
when i comment i just want to quote all of the lovely things you've written, lines about the landscape being off-kilter and dreamy.

i know the places, i know their enchantment and grotesqueness.

i'm utterly impressed that lulu can drink from a straw, and i love seeing the little ute chunk up and smile so cheezy!

and i want to tell that film crew that the very subtle and worn nature of the petroglyph is it's most haunting characteristic, bittersweet indeed. come on now.


what a beautiful world we live in, i'm starting to fall in love with the yucca!
xo
regina said…
not too long! read it all, looked at each.and.every.photo.

thanks for sharing!
whaddya mean, longest post ever? i mean, what?...it's over already? i am left wanting more, and loving what's been given.

i love that this trip is more gritty and real in that travelling-with-a-baby way. less fantastical but even more delectable.

so glad your babies graced the dance floor at pappy and harriet's, and love reading the familiar names of places, ones that left such a mark on us even though we were only there once...no wonder they are now woven into your tapestry of home.

and big thumbs up to the trucker hat. love you and your man and babe and candid photos and night time magic. sweet travels little family xo
Equine Bovine said…
I could of read a post like that forever. so next desert trip, feel free to take up all my time with your pictures and experiences. We just love it so much down there. Joe and I spent sometime time at the Joshua Tree area and Inn going/coming from SXSW. If it wasn't for Marceau (sp) at the Inn, we would of never known about Pappy & Harriets!! We rolled up there during there open mic night filled with smiles, great music and hella cool looking people. We should be heading down there again in October, so I would love to know where you guys hike around .take care. ps- lu and Utah are the cutest kids! if I could be guaranteed some cute kids like that, I 'd pop one our ever year :)
Ilaria Ruggeri said…
I just want to thank you for these inspiring photos full of beauty, magic and poetry. They seem so exotic and wonderful to me. Love and light to you all!
anne said…
what a beautiful trip! joshua tree is pretty fantastic! and i love pappy and harriett's, it's the best :D

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