Sunday, January 4, 2009

Western Beauty.

We made it. 3200 miles, 5 nights, and countless gallons of gas later, we arrived in Victorville, CA, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles. Our last day of travel was our shortest distance-wise, so we planned a few scenic stops along the way. We first stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It was stunning. Deep reds, washed out blues, aged pinks covered the mountainsides providing gorgeous views of the area. As an avid photographer, I was in heaven. These mountainous areas are known as the Painted Desert, and the other section of the park, from which it derives its name, was no less spectacular. The petrified forest was a huge vista of shards of petrified wood fragments and logs. Over the course of millions of years, the wood had slowly transformed into a form hard, rock-like substance rich with yellows, reds, blues and greys. It was interested to be able to see a fragment of the ancient past of Arizona, to see something that lived in the age of the dinosaurs. While we were there, we were viciously chased off of an overlook by a large, angry looking raven. Not knowing what the bird was capable of, we high-tailed it. Our next stop was the Meteor Crater, also located in Arizona. This is the crater left by the meteor that allegedly killed the dinosaurs (or at least leads all theories in probability). The crater was incredibly large, roughly 3 miles in circumference, and nearly 500 feet deep. Like the petrified wood, it was humbling to view a piece of history hundreds of millions of years old. Something that altered the state of the Earth for the rest of time. After leaving the Meteor Crater, we continued on our route down I-40. Lying in stark contrast to the shrub filled desert we had so become accustom to in Arizona, we entered a national forest, in which we were quite surprised to find....snow. In fact it started snow while drove through the forest. Shortly after exiting the woods, a tremendous mountain scape creeped into view. We have not yet determined the name of the mountains, but they were the last thing we saw as the sun went down, a fittingly beautiful end to such a scenic state. As we entered California, we were mildly shocked to be met with a border check-point, asking us if we had any fruits or plants, and where we originated from. It seemed a little extreme, given it was only a state border. Today, with our first free day in a week, we decided to travel to nearby (such a relative term now, it was in fact 2 hours away) Joshua Tree National Park, a desert area with beautiful rock formations surrounding your field of view as you journey to the heart of the area. I spent quite a bit of time bouldering and climbing around the rock faces. We came across a rather picturesque area, just as the sun was going down, so I gathered up my gear, and made a trek to the top of the rock outcrop that headed the area. As the sunset, the areas rocks were cast in a red-golden glow, and the sky glowed a light shade of purple. All the sights I have seen on this trip have awoken a new respect and admiration for our nations beauty. We are lucky to live in a country that has such varied and beautiful landscapes.
Well tomorrow our cross-country pilgrimage comes to an offical end, as we move into our apartments in LA. Look for a blog post and images of our new digs sometime soon. Thanks for reading.

Included are a few pictures of Joshua Tree National Park, and a few videos that Josh has filmed in the past few days. Enjoy.


Violet said...

That raven meant business.

The Sickels said...

Awesome pictures! Great narrative.
You paint a vivid picture for your readers.
Can't wait to hear all about the apartment and see pictures.
Have a fun moving in day.

Mrs. W said...

Oh my goodness,beautiful pictures.

Matthew R. Dale said...

-haha yes he did

-thanks mom

-thank you! james is here with us now, its nice to have him back with us!