10 Favorite Photographs from our South West Desert Travels

This last 2012/2013 Snowbird season we stayed mainly in the desert areas of the three States of Arizona, Nevada, and California. We have grown very fond of the desert now and love the isolation, peace and beauty it offers.

Looking through my archive of photos I have picked out the 10 Favorite Photographs from our South West Desert Travels this past year.

Cholla in Joshua Tree NP

Teddy Bear Cholla in Joshua Tree NP

The Cholla Garden located in Joshua Tree National Park. It was a beautiful warm sunny day in December and the Cholla Cactus were starting to bud. The garden is an area in the park where the Cholla, specifically the Teddy Bear variety flourish. There are thousands jammed together in a square mile or so area. I scouted out a couple nice ones and took this close-up shot against the nice blue California sky.

Algodones Dunes

Lone Plant at Algodones Dunes

Just north of the chaos and noise that is Glamis Dunes Recreation area, where dune buggies rule the day, there is a nature reserve called North Algodones Dunes Wilderness. We spent a peaceful evening walking the pristine sandy dunes. With the sun getting low, I captured this simple scene of a lone desert plant.

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain, Slab City California

Salvation Mountain is the name of this funky desert art installation. One afternoon we drove south from Palm Springs to witness for ourselves the infamous area known as Slab City. The expression Anne has says it all, “What the F#@K!”

Palm Springs Oasis

Palm Springs Oasis

On the outskirts of Palm Springs is a nature refuge called Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. A short hike from the parking lot is a cool little oasis with natural palm trees surrounding it. You can see in this photo where Palm Springs got its name.

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Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

While in Las Vegas we day tripped out to Lake Mead and the amazing man-made structure that is the Hoover Dam. They have recently completed the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge crossing the Colorado River and have a walkway on it allowing you to snap terrific images of the dam below. Hang on to your camera and hat though, the bridge is 900 ft. above the river.

Clarke Dry Lake

Angie at Clarke Dry Lake

Boondocking near Borrego Springs, California gave a lot of open space for our little Beagle Angie to romp and play. None is more wide open and spacious as the Clarke Dry Lake. This was shot at 5:30 am just before sunrise and the release of the hound!

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona was a highlight of our trip. Seeing these giant cacti up close was a real treat. They have an almost life-like appearance. In this picture, I imagine a couple are in an embrace and another is running to join it.

Mesquite Dunes

Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley NP

The scene is on Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park as the sun sets the light becomes soft and Anne composes her shot. It was a gorgeous evening, quiet, still, and warm. All you could hear was the sound of bees buzzing on the flowering Mesquite Trees.

Borrego Springs Sculpture

Borrego Springs Serpent Sculpture

Wow! Things that pop out of the desert! The sculptures around Borrego Springs were incredible and we had a blast checking them out. This serpent is the largest of them and extremely cool looking, especially with the barren desert backdrop.

FireWave Photographers

FireWave, Valley of Fire SP

In Valley of Fire State Park there is a short mile or so hike to a special sandstone formation named the Firewave. In this photo is a group of photographers staked out in their selected spots waiting for the perfect light to happen. For a taste of what they would have captured check out Anne’s photo. If your learning photography pick up Anne’s free ebooks on photography.

For more photos from our travels check out the LoveYourRV.com Photo Gallery.

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  • Gary Wood

    Nice collection of photos Ray. I especially like the Teddy Bear Cholla. What was the name of the oasis in Palm Springs? Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Gary, here is a link to info on the palm oasis – http://coachellavalleypreserve.org/
      It’s a short hike from the entrance area.
      Coachella Valley Preserve
      Thousand Palms Canyon Rd
      Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241

  • Ralph

    Been reading your blog since fall 2012. Really enjoy the wonderful photos and look forward to each new “adventure”.
    Would love to be able to get rid of the s&b…and see the beautiful sights in U.S. and Canada…while still able physically! Wife wants a dry..not too hot.. climate. Been telling her for years…we can follow the weather in an RV! Also….noticed you’re in Victoria….one of our favorite cities..anywhere!. Take care!!

    • Thanks do much for reading the blog Ralph. That’s the great thing about RVing, freedom to move, we love to follow the sun and stay in a comfortable climate. Not to many locations nicer in the summer than Victoria, that’s for sure. I’ve been spoiled living most of my life here. Now I get to escape the dreary, gray wet winters. Life is good. :0)

      • Ralph

        We live near Kalama,Wa..which is about 30 miles north of Portland,Or. We live at an elevation of 1700’….so we get about 45-50″ of precipitation yearly(and at times …up to 34″ of snow on the ground….UGH!!) We LOVE the area..and the SUMMERS….but DW starting to get knee pains(has had both knees replaced) As you know…the winters can be long and dreary. We can have thick fog for 3-4 days at a time. We just dread November thru March!!!

  • This isn’t the famous Wave in Arizona that you need to win a daily lottery or reserve online way in advance to hike to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wave,_Arizona

    This one is similar and you can walk to it anytime, just a short hike. They didn’t even know about it to recently, its not even in the Valley of Fire Park map yet! So cool.

  • Were you able to just walk out to the Firewave without a permit? I would really like to see that.
    The photos are just wonderful.

  • Wheelingit

    Lovely sheet of shots. We’ve been many, but not all of those places. Wonderful!

    • Thanks Nina 🙂