17 Oct 2015

Mojave Desert by adamandheather

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The Kelso Dunes are among only a handful of dunes worldwide known to "boom". The shifting sand, sliding down the slopes of the dunes, causes the dune to resonate, like an instrument. The low, rumbling sound resembles distant thunder.

After checking the weather again this morning, we decide to head down to Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California. The route down from Las Vegas takes us through the Mojave desert. It's a beautiful, white desert, and a forest of Joshua trees lines the road. Occasionally the lower sections of the road are filled with mud from recent flash flooding.

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The ranger stands for a moment, thinking.

"The best place for tonight's sunset? I would go on in, and drive up to the Hidden Valley picnic area. There's an open view to the west, and from that spot you can just walk out into the open field."

His advice is dead on. The field is thick with Joshua trees, their curved and gnarly silhouettes standing out against the horizon. Granite rock formations stand tall among them, and a quick scramble up the boulders earns us a great vista.

As the sun sets behind the mountains, small armies of photographers wade into the field with their tripods, intervalometers, and red headlamps. The desert is still and quiet, and although the sky isn't especially clear, the comfortable temperature makes for a great night.

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The Gravitron. The Scrambler. The Himalayan. Shouts and music fill the air.

We stumble on the Pioneer Days fair completely by accident. The bright lights of the park catch our attention while we're driving to our campground. We grab a delicious, authentic burrito from a food stand and stroll through the carnival grounds for a while. It brings on a wave of nostalgia for the rural fairs we went to as children.