Friday, November 4, 2011

The Snake Ranch

No, it's not really a snake ranch, but it looks like it could be snake territory. I think only one rattlesnake has been spotted in all of the years Mom has owned and hiked the property, but we all still call it the Snake Ranch. These ten acres are in the Yucca Valley portion of the Mojave Desert, near Twentynine Palms and the Joshua Tree National Forest.

The high desert landscape is appropriately dry, but rugged and beautiful in its own way. Hardy trees and plants thrive in the challenging climate, and nature has decorated the landscape with amazing rock formations, even inselbergs. Inselbergs? what? Okay, I'm showing off with that word, it's a geologist's word for rock pile, from the German word meaning "island mountain".
The erosional and weathering processes operating in the current arid conditions of the desert are only partially responsible for the spectacular sculpturing of the rocks. The present landscape is essentially a collection of relic features inherited from earlier times of higher rainfall and lower temperatures.*