Saturday, March 13, 2021

2021.03.13 Owens Valley and Alabama Hills, CA


    Alabama Hills was on our radar and on my bucket list for a while. Because of the relatively short window you can visit due to the rough climate there, it requires some planning. Now, it is almost spring time, so we decided to give it a try. Lone Pine, a funky little town, is the gateway to Alabama Hills and the Mt. Whitney trail. Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in California and the highest mountain in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet. The mountain has also become one of the most popular hikes in the state. So popular, that you need to enter a lottery in order to win a permit to hike Mt. Whitney during the summer months. But this is not the reason why we're here. Our main interest is to spend some time at Alabama Hills, the place we know from many impressive pictures of our fellow travelers. The place did not disappoint, it was as beautiful (and as crowded) as we thought it would be.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

2021.03.09 Death Valley National Park, CA


    This was our second visit at this incredible national park. But first, before the park boundary, we made a stop at the "Pads" boondocking place. This is a large dry camping area with several concrete pads that are apparently leftovers from some temporary housing. Many RVers stay here for a day or two before they head to the national park.
    Later, in the valley, we got lucky and were able to secure a spot in a campground at the Furnace Creek Village. By the evening, the camp was completely full. We feel a little bit uneasy with so many people around us but that's the way it is in all national parks these days. Camping became very popular during the Covid pandemic mainly because that's the only thing people can do. And you can already see the impact on the public lands. After three days of hiking we decided to continue our journey to the next destination, Alabama Hills in Owens Valley, CA.

Friday, March 5, 2021

2021.03.05 Mojave National Preserve, CA


    We planned a short stop at Mojave Desert on our way to Death Valley and Alabama Hills. First time, when we passed through this place a few years back, we were not very impressed. This time though, it was a totally different experience. The place was very quiet, almost deserted, just a handful of people at the Hole in the Wall campground. So we have decided to stick around for a few days and explore the area. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

2021.02.28 Sonoran Desert, Arizona


    What makes the Sonoran desert unique? It is the wettest, hottest, and most bio diverse desert in North America.The Sonoran desert is the only place on the planet where the saguaro cactus grows in the wild. This giant cactus can grow to 70 feet and live to be 150 years old. They bloom in the night, when the gorgeous white flowers are pollinated by bats. In addition to the saguaro, common plants include the barrel cactus, organ-pipe cactus, prickly pear, cholla, ocotillo, yucca, agave and palo verde, to name a few. After our trip to Florida, returning to Arizona feels like coming back home. It's familiar territory, we have been here several times in the past and we feel comfortable in a desert. This time, we have discovered some great new places around the Tucson area. I have to say, it makes me feel kind of sad that this could be our last time at this beautiful desert land. Maybe not, you never know. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

2021.01.22 Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX


    The adobe home was designed and built by a composer, writer, and adventurer Jason Chilton Matthews during late 1930's.
    The grounds consist of the house and beautiful gardens with sculptures, water features and native trees and plants. You can also find a lot of different species of birds in here; they claim over 250 species, but we only saw a few of them. Overall this little gem in the Rio Grande Valley did not disappoint.