Joshua Tree National Park used to be fairly unknown. Used to be you could go there and have to share it with only a few others. Not so anymore. And for good reason. Amazing rock formations and amazing tree formations abound in this place. I love both rocks and trees, so this is a place I return to, as far away as it is, again and again.

The Joshua tree is found only in limited places of Utah, California, Arizona & Nevada. There’s great concern it will be seriously adversely affected by global climate changes. The research suggests a high probability that their populations will be reduced by 90% of their current range by the end of the 21st century. They don’t flower every year, and I hadn’t ever seen them in bloom until this visit. Such a unique, strange tree, and so much fun to photograph!

Joshua Tree in full bloom

Joshua Tree Blossoms Up Close

There’s a moth that lays its eggs in the blossoms, fertilizing it with the pollen they’re carrying. The moth larvae feed on the seeds of the tree, but enough seeds are left behind to produce more trees. So here’s what’s crazy, the Joshua tree is also able to actively abort ovaries in which too many eggs have been laid. Maybe if our species were that tuned in we wouldn’t be so overpopulated!

Now to figure out when no one else is there…..When we went this time, it was Spring Break for California – oops. There were NO campsites and people everywhere. A gal in town (Joshua Tree) said it used to be this busy only during Spring Break, but now it stays busy almost year round. Except winter. Think we’ll try for that next time.

Since we couldn’t find a campsite legally, we ended up here: (shhhh…don’t tell anyone! That’s our van down there, just post Grand Canyon)

Stealth Camping

Keys View is a spectacular spot for its 360 views. We stayed here both nights and were treated to these amazing sunsets.

The first night at Keys View

It gets harder and harder to see these places as an experience of wilderness with so many now flocking to see the beauty. The up side is that so many are enjoying their connection with the Spirit of Nature and affirming the universal need to have this in our lives. Bringing these images home with me and sharing them with you tickles and satisfies my very soul. I hope you enjoy them. And join me next time back home in Idaho, where I start playing the Chasing Spring game in my own backyard!

Connie McClaran

My work is an expression of the deep connection I feel with the natural world. When I’m on a photographic “walkabout” I allow the lines of separation to blur and settle into an immersion, if you will, that becomes the images you’ll see on this website.

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