Posts

Showing posts from November, 2009

Mojave Day trip to Amboy Crater

Image
If you find yourself on the way out to Mojave National Preserve, going to or from Arizona on I-40 or Route 66, or just feeling up for an adventure, check out Amboy Crater, and the surrounding lava formations. Just don't upset the habitat of the endangered Mojave fringe-toed lizard, which prefers the sands around lava fields in the area. You can climb the crater and take in the view from the rim. It's an easy 30-45 minute hike to the crater from the parking lot just off the 66.

Solar Energy Development in the Mojave

Image
Why Renewable Energy Requires A Thoughtful and Balanced Approach in the Desert
Even though desert plants and animals are a tough bunch, climate change is still a threat to the desert as much as it is to the polar ice caps. Wildlife in the deserts are so uniquely adapted and have balanced their ecosystem in such hostile conditions that even slight changes can be disruptive. The struggle between desert wildlife and the harsh conditions it contends with year-round is a reason to respect Mojave, where everyday of survival is a triumph. Consider how hot it can get in the Victor Valley on an average summer day? Anywhere from 95-112 degrees F, right? The temperatures are even higher closer to the ground in the desert, so if you are a desert tortoise, leopard lizard or a fledgling desert shrub you face temperatures that can reach 140 degrees F (or 60 degrees Celsius).

So what difference does a little bit of global warming make? One recent study funded by the National Science Foundation …

Google Trash in the Victor Valley

Why do the denizens of Victor Valley cities trash their surroundings? I noticed last weekend at the shopping center on Mariposa Road in Victorville with the movie theaters, Michael's crafts, and the Red Robin, and plastic bags and newspapers swirled about the parking lot. The trash clearly was not the result of a singly windy day, but had accumulated over the course of days if not weeks. When did the shopping center and its patrons become so complacent? Sadly, this is the state of the entire Victor Valley. Look around at the empty lots and parking lots when you're going down Bear Valley Road, or Cottonwood Avenue. Look at the plastic bags and other litter blanketing the open desert and wrapping around the Creosote and Sage bushes.

If you're sitting at the computer but cannot remember seeing the trash, open up Google Maps and use the "street view" function. You can probably check out any open desert lot near you, but if you need an example check out 15840 …

Preserving Inspiration

Open Space. When was the last time you saw some? I'm not talking about the park down the street, or a good spot to park your car at the grocery store. When was the last time you could look around you and not see another sign of human beings or hear them or their creations. No car or train noises, no garbage or roads, signs or sounds. If you drive East from Los Angeles on Interstate 10 or 15, into the middle of the Mojave Desert, you'll find the start of the journey required to find some of the best open space left in America.

The Mojave is a wilderness that has challenged generations of Americans; starting with American Indians and including economic migrants from the Mid-West during the Great Depression, it has tested the mettle of strong-willed miners, and provided an open canvas for daring test pilots.  Generations of Americans have smelled the sagebrush warning them that a rare rain shower was nearby;  gazed at the blankets of wildflowers that appear in spring;  star…