Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lost Horse Mine

On Tuesday, we headed on up to Joshua Tree National Park. It's a fairly traditional part of our autumn pilgrimage to the California desert. This year we would retrace steps we first took about four years ago and hike up to Lost Horse Mine.

Western pygmy blue nectars in a globe mallow near Keys View

Before hitting the trail, we drove over to Keys View, a splendid overlook of the Salton Sea and Coachella Valley. In the far distance, Signal Mountain in Mexico can be sween through the haze (sadly, the air pollution was much in evidence from the view). One of the things that I enjoy about Keys view, is that you are standing on the exrtme southern edge of the Mojave Desert, looking out over the Colorado Desert, which is part of the Sonoran Desert.

Keys View

Lost Horse Mine Trail
The hike up to Lost Horse Mine passes through beautiful high desert, with lots of Joshua trees, juniper, and yucca. There is some elevation gain and about two miles to the remains of the mine. The remains of the mine include a lot of heavy equipment and a stamp mill. The interesting archaeology made me think of Homer as we explored the ruins.

The stamp mill at Lost Horse Mine

Rock outcropping along the trail

We decided to do the entire 6 1/2 mile loop on this visit, and were treated to views of the valley stat is home to the park's geological auto tour. As is often the case on these hikes, we had to hustle to get back to the car by sundown. We wound our way through Joshua trees glowing in the late afternoon light as we finished our excursion.

Headstander beetle (Eleodes sp.) sez "hurry up if you want to get back to the car before dark"

Late afternoon light on the Joshua trees

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At 23:10, Blogger Ur-spo said...

You have lovely photos as always
Meanwhile we were freezing our fingers off, visiting Chicago!

At 23:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sure do get around Doug...

Come south a hair Spo, I'll freeze your fingers off! ;) Making wreaths!

At 11:10, Blogger Will said...

Doug, have your photos ever been exhibited? The beauty you find and the the vivid pictures you take of it could be a powerful tool in advancing the vital work that you and others like you to repair and preserve the natural world.

At 17:28, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

That's another spot I'd like to see someday!

At 13:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Pygmy blue photo should definitely be submitted to the ESA photo competition! Wow!

At 18:11, Blogger cedrorum said...

Nice shots. I love all the old mining towns out west. I've never been to this one.

At 18:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some...not all....reminded me of where I grew up...southeast Oregon near the Steens...that Owyhee Desert country is gorgeous too, in its own way. I'll have to put the AZ desert and Salton Sea on my list.

At 20:53, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo- You picked a cold weekend to visit. But then, you did say that you wanted a winter experience while you were up here.

Heather- Great to hear from you again. I'm really glad I missed this particular cold snap.

Will- Thanks for the very kind words. I have a couple of photos in the museum, but that's the closest I've come to exhibiting.

Dave- I highly recommend it.

Bug Girl- Thanks so much. ESA is a group I need to join (so many professional organizations, so little time). I was planning on entering it into the SASI photo contest at this year's Invertebrates in Conservation and Education Conference.

cedrorum- I enjoyed it, though it's really stretching it to call this a town. It's really just the mine. There are ruins from a couple of small cabins scattered over a couple of square miles. Have you been to Bodie, CA?

Mark- And your descriptions keep making me want to put eastern Oregon on mine. Arizona? Definitely. The Salton Sea really only has the birding (and entomology_ to recommend it. The scenery is not spectacular. And it smells really bad.

At 16:59, Blogger rodger said...

You're really becoming quite the photographer Doug. These photos really capture the beauty I remember from my last visit to the area many years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Leon!

At 21:45, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doug -- you have been tagged. Don't blame me - it's Adrian's fault ;-)
regards -- ted

At 09:09, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Happy Thanksgiving from Texas....

Troy and Martha

At 20:37, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Great photos.

Thanks for the visit,

Per your comment:

Lost Maples State Natural Area is a state park in the Edwards Plateau of Texas. The maples that give the park its name are relics: remnants of a larger, more widespread population that flourished during the cooler and wetter climate of the last ice age. Today, soils and micro climate control their present distribution.

They were discovered far removed from any maple forest, and thus gave the area the name "lost maples"

At 21:24, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Rodger- Thanks. I hope you and Mark are having a wonderful holiday.

Ted- I'll try to get to this over the weekend.

Troy - Thanks for the info. I think that relict plant communities are really fascinating.

At 13:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your going great guns with this new camera Doug.

At 17:14, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Gee Doug, these are all really good photos. I don't know which I like the best. The butterfly in the flower blossom is gorgeous, but I also love the views out over the valley and the shots of the Josua trees. Looks like a good time was had by all! Did that beetle beat you back to the car?


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