Sunday, January 3, 2010

Desert Moon Sojourn

At the very spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to get out of town for New Years ( I really love these unplanned getaway's). We gathered our camping gear, tossed it in the back of the truck and headed northeast.

The desert seemed like the best place to go for a quiet reflective way to welcome in January and 2010 and the Blue Moon. On our way to Death Valley, we passed the Mojave and made a short stop here at Red Rock Canyon. Can you see me beneath these spectacular rock formations?

Passing through the Owen's Valley we can see the Sierra Nevada's and Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S.

After a six hour drive, we've reached our destination, we're here at Death Valley National Park.

We waited here watching the light on the dunes in the distance. And deciding where we'll (hopefully) see the moon rise tonight. We saw groups of people walk out to the sand dunes with picnic baskets and blankets, they had a good idea for New Years.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

As the sun began to set we saw clouds start to fill in the sky, oh dear, would we see the moon after all?

If we didn't, it wouldn't matter, this sunset was worth the drive. It went on and on, we watched the sky with anticipation (and a good amount of awe).

And then, the horizon began to glow, my heart beat faster. It would happen! right in front of us, on New Years Eve, the Blue Moon appeared.

Well, to say this was a thrill would be a serious understatement. It was an incredible sight, if you saw it too, you know what I mean. The sky was so clear, I could see the markings on the moon. We took several photos (I hope my film pics turn out) if not, I'm happy with these from my little digital.

With the moon now in the sky, it was time to find a campsite. Unfortunately while we were busy sky watching, all the campsites at Stovepipe Wells were taken. We arrived just as the last site was claimed.

Plan b: get a room. It seemed we got the last one of those too. We forgot that we would not be the only ones to decide to escape to the desert for the holiday. Luckily we didn't forget the champagne!

One for you and one for me. Happy New Year honey! then, because there was a sign in our room that said " No cooking in room" (not that we would have!) we went out to eat, where we had a beautiful trout dinner with steamed veggies and a delicious salad. Maybe missing out on the campsite was a good thing? :)

Up at dark, I mean dawn, we want to be in a good position for photos before the sun makes it's appearance. Here is my sweet husband making me a mug of hot tea. It is very very cold this morning.

We are all alone at this surreal landscape.

Looks like the moon. Death Valley is an amazing place. You really ought to go.

We took a lot of photos.

And walked all over the salt spires which are as sharp as a coral reef. it's okay, you can do that here. The guide book says "there is no official hiking trail, visitors can tromp through this strange and rugged terrain for a closer look at the spectacular formations."

Now, here I am at the lowest point in North America, Badwater. It looks like I'm about to step into water, but it's only salt. You do not want to be here in the summer. Temperatures regularly reach 120 degrees. Though now, it is very cold. I don't know how cold, but I take back what I said about wanting snow. I would probably die. This was cold enough. I know I'm a baby. I'm sorry.

On one of the unpaved roads we pulled over to make breakfast. I watched from inside the truck as my husband went to work. He enjoys cooking on our little camp stove.

Here is his kitchen, the tailgate of our truck. He made us cooked oats with blueberries, bananas and honey. ♥

Here in Death Valley an American Indian tribe lives and thrives. The Timbisha Shoshone reside on 40 acres of land near Furnace Creek. As we passed by we noticed a sign that looked interesting. We'll come back to check it out in the afternoon.

Next is Zabriskie Point. Another badland that will guarantee gasps. The earth must have thrown quite a party to have created this. The land is wildly eroded and vibrantly colored. I imagined one wrong step and you'd fall in and never be found again.

My husband felt the need to stand right next to the edge for his photos. Perspective is hard to show here, but the drop off is significant.

I like mine, where I am far enough back for photos and peace of mind. (I tried not to look at my husband).

Photos safely taken, now we're at Golden Canyon for a short hike.

The guide book said it is an easy two mile hike. I think we turned it into ten, (only a slight exaggeration.) :)
We went off the trail, wandering through colorful rock formations,

squeezing through twisting narrows,

climbing over big rocks and boulders (showing off),

and getting stuck. Oh, not to worry though, I made it through. I like this photo even if I can't understand what is going on with my pants. I may have just brought unnecessary attention there, forget I said anything. heehee.

There are beautiful colors in the rocks and earth. Nature continually amazes.

We came up this way, now we have to get back down. These photos do not show how narrow and steep it was. And that is probably good as well, because I wouldn't want to upset my mom.

We made it out fine, now we're off to explore that sign I mentioned earlier. See it? the Indian Taco's? I was so looking forward to going on the reservation, meeting the Timbisha Shoshone people, and eating their taco's. So we turned down the road.

We found the tribal office. And then we found the note, Closed New Years Day. :(
We'll have to come back, you don't often find an invitation to come on to Indian homeland.
I do hope it's okay to take these photos, there is a beautiful dignity among American Indian people, and you have to ask permission for most things.

While waiting patiently for a late afternoon shot it became apparent that the sun would not come out. Clouds had been filling in all day and now the sun had set somewhere behind it all. Making the best of the situation we found a lovely place to take in the last of the sunset.

I should have probably shown just one or two photos, but it was so pretty, I had a hard time stopping and so there are six. We wished each other Happy New Year again and agreed we'd had a fantastic day, this first day of 2010.

Heading out we decided to have dinner in Panamint Springs before the long trek back home.

It's fun to talk about all the things we'd seen and done, always rating the latest adventure as number one, always thinking it's the best yet. We'd found the full moon we'd hoped for, and the solitude too. We'd even caught a glimpse of a coyote and one raven. But the thing I liked the best is this glass of wine right here. After seven months of an undiagosed African illness, I think i'm back. I feel so good. I kept saying all along that when I order a glass of wine, then I know i'll be okay.

I did, and it was delicious.

♥ lori


  1. What a wonderful impromptu adventure ... and awesome photos to boot! Spectacular. You are inspiring me for more travel. You and hubby started the new year off perfectly and I hope it is an indication of more good things to come. Love, Lyn

  2. What an incredible way to start the New Year.
    The photos are amazing. I really don't have words. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  3. I am so glad you're starting to feel better now.

    Your New Year looks incredible, it really does look like you had an awesome time. Happy New Year. We saw the Blue Moon, above us as we danced around the Clock tower at midnight... I was not sober enough to think to take a picture.

  4. Although this is an absolutely gorgeous post and I am soooo jealous the best part was the end where you said you were back. Congratulations on beating this illness! All the best in this New Year!

  5. i am SPEECHLESS.


    i have to collect my thoughts.

    and my breath.


    my 2010 will have YOU in it?



  6. Awesome!!!
    I'm so happy for you on so many levels and so happy for me that you blog and share :)

    They say (not sure who they are) that whatever you do that first day of the year sets the pace for the coming year.... wow what a wonderful year you're going to have.

    big love to you Lori and thank you so very much for all that you share.
    I'll be back as I often do with your posts... as they are so beautiful I want them again and again. I also often share them with my son and partner.
    Happy New Year!!
    xoxox Ribbon :)

    PS... I too saw the blue moon... but my one little photo just looks like a spotlight .... i'm laughing.

    and I couldn't stop laughing at your pants.... just because you said so

  7. Perfection... and that last bit of information: Poetry! I'm so happy you ordered your glass of wine and that you enjoyed it. :)
    A wonderful way to start the new year. I have prayed so much for these news, and here thay are finally, and equipped with stunning photos of the desert.

    Now we can officially start planning the Rome leg of your Southern European tour... yes?

    Happy happy happy new year to you and Chuck.
    All my love
    Lola xx

  8. Amazingly wonderful and loving way to bring in the New Year...shared experiences are the best!

  9. Beautiful!! Such amazing landscapes! Spectacular! I would love to go there once in my lifetime

    Happy new year!.

  10. all right, that's it. i'm moving in and joining your hubby and you on all of your adventures.


  11. What an exciting adventure, Lori! I wish I could do a bit more of that...and I'm so happy that you feel better! I often think of you...I guess you burned a lot of karma with that you have plenty of health and happiness coming your way! May you and your family have a wonderful, creative, and inspiring 2010! xx <3

  12. Woweewow! Absolutely awesome place and photos!
    I am glad that you and Chuck got away together, it sounded heavenly, but more than that, I am happy that you are well enough to enjoy a fine glass of Red. :xx♥

  13. Dear Lyn,
    Sometimes it works out that way, that the best things happen without a plan! i really love that. When your last is off to University maybe you and your husband will have more time to make travel happen?!
    Whitney Lee,
    Oh thank you for your kind words, you are so welcome, i'm glad you enjoyed our desert trip!
    Dear Sammi,
    ha! well, it sounds as if you were enjoying the night anyway. Happy 2010!
    Dear Lorac,
    thank you very much, for the wish and for saying such kind words. I know we are pretty relieved too, it's been a long last few months.
    Dear kj,
    oh you sweet person you.
    thank you.
    you make me giggle.

    Dear Ribbon,
    well, i finally figured out why it looks like i have a big crumpled up behind. I had on shorts underneath the pants, which i should have removed. errggg. haha.
    try cropping your photo and see if that helps make your moon larger. love you.
    Lola dear,
    that is on my list, trust me! Rome to see you and little e. Thank you for all your prayers and get well wishes, i'm so glad that's behind me now.
    I agree about shared experiances, absolutely. Thank you for the kind words!
    Dear Chaitra,
    I hope you can too. And I would love to see India. Someday for each of us... ☺
    Dear Kavita,
    Well, my husband, good sport that he is, always says What's one more kid?! hee hee.
    Dear Cynthia,
    thank you, it really means alot to me, all your well wishes and kind words. I am looking forward to this year and I know you are too with your daughter going off to school! so exciting.
    Natalie dear,
    thank you and you are so generous, i feel a bit guilty, you are the one in need of a getaway. BUT, it will come, one day soon you and Mark will be taking your own. I can't wait to see your photos then either!

  14. ooooooooooooh

    stunning, awesome


    I'm a bit gobsmacked
    thanks for sharing


    PS Happy happy 2010 to you and Chuck

  15. That is a good word Janet haha. Your welcome. I'm glad you liked. And now i must go to bed!

  16. Such amazing sights you see Lori!
    Thank you for sharing them with us through that lens.

    I hope that one day I can share such beauty as well.

    Wishing you and your loves a VERY Happy New Year. May 2010 be Blissful and Successful for you and yours.


  17. Sounds like you had good fun! great images! Traveling around is really good!

  18. Oh, dear Lori, I am so glad you found my blog and can't believe it took me all this time to find yours! And then to come upon your pictures from Death Valley. We used to live in New Mexico (lived there for 10 years) and I so miss that landscape of the desert! Even though we LOVE living by the ocean, we crave the desert. Your stunning photos brought it all back for me! Thank you!!! I'll be back often to visit! Hugs, Silke

  19. what an incredible atmospheric place to see in 2010 - your photos are fabulous (how do you get to write our name in the corner of each one?); the moon, those dunes and rocks, AND i am SO GLAD you ordered that wine!!!!! hurrah xxx
    enjoy a meteorically magical 2010 with every good thing imaginable :-)

  20. I have to admit, at first glance, I said oh my it's too long post but when I begun to read while looking the photos, I did not realized I reached the end of the post. In between, I said oh my. beautiful, beautiful! I like it all especially the moon rise, the sunset and the sunrise. I prefer unplanned trips too. This is a great post of a memorable and complete journey. Thanks for sharing your New Year escapade with your hubby. I am looking forward for the next journey.

  21. Makes me realize how little of America I have seen. Awesome pictures.

  22. This is worthy of a spread in National Geographic !!!! Our moon rise in Bend was awesome as well. Mountains are drenched in snow, cold and crisp. My youngest son arrives on the 15th for a week of skiing and I can't wait! He rarely has an opportunity to visit (busy chef) and I have been lucky ... he was also here in October for the family reunion. Happy New Year....

  23. What an amazing start to the year Lori.
    The places you visited don't look like they belong on the same earth I live on.Utterly beautiful.

    And of course I wouldn't dream of making any pants comments... tee hee!

  24. A beautiful and wonderful way of celebrating the new year. Away from the usual maddening crowds of party revellers.
    Love, love, love those amazing pictures.
    Am very glad that you feel yourself again.

  25. So glad you're feeling better!

    I esp. like the photo of the purple and blue rocks. Great vacation!

  26. What a lovely post of your trip.

    Great pictures :-)


  27. Dear Meagan,
    thank you very much sweetie. I am looking forward to seeing what you take with your new camera.
    yes, traveling around is VERY good! thank you for the kind comment and Happy New Year to you!
    Dear Silke,
    Oh you are right, we have much in common! New Mexico is a beautiful place, I love it there. One of the reasons we like where we live so much is the way we can go from the ocean to the desert to the mountains to the islands (Channel Islands) in a day, or sometimes a few hours. It is really such a pleasure to meet you!
    Ah Val, thank you so much, i really appreciate your words. You can add a watermark through Picasa, but i think if you google watermark there are different photo sites that handle this. I can't wait to hear about your adventure over the kalahari.
    Thank you Redlan,
    I do worry about that, the length sometimes overwhelms, and the download time for some. But I edit as much as i can! I like to remember a lot. :)
    Thank you Coco, me too. It is really a big world.
    Dear Helen,
    thank you! I'm so glad you were able to enjoy the moon, it must have been so pretty in Bend. Have fun with your precious son!
    Ha Mandy! thank you. i really debated about that photo, it's so silly. but good for a laugh.
    The deserts here are like no where else, otherworldly even. I love it.
    Thank you 3years,
    I hope you had a great new years too with your family.
    Thanks Tina,
    maybe good enough to start running too, the hike felt great!
    Happy new year~

  28. Yay! I'm so glad you are feeling better. An undiagnosed African illness is not the best illness to have.

    What an amazing new year trek! Beautiful scenery that you shared so generously. I love the colors and textures. Now it's on my list. Thanks for taking us along.

  29. Oh Lori the pictures, all the coloured rocks, you, and your husband and then you again. But the moon, dear mother moon.

    Thank you darling.

    Love Renee xoxo

  30. Nancy,
    you are close, i think you'd really enjoy it, just don't go in the summer, unless of course you like 900 degree weather!
    Dear Renee,
    the moon made my heart ache, i felt pulled by it, i wanted to run up the mountain and hug it. the moon is like a magnet to me. i'm so glad you liked it. thank you for your sweet words that always make me want to hug you too.
    dear miranda,
    i've made you speechless? wow!

  31. O.M.G. I have not ever seen these formations. Your pictures are stunningly beautiful. What a treat for all of us. Thanks.

  32. Geeze, I am late again, panting behind everyone (but of course I enjoy reading every comment, too). I can only repeat what everone else said, stunning, wonderful, breathtaking( who took that photo of you AND Chuck?). Seeing him making you breakfast reminded me so much of our trip with our teardrop trailer. We usually made ourselves grilled cheese sandwiches (haha, just wrote "sandwishes", how telling. I loved the desert, too) I like your stories along with the pictures so much, and the glimpses of the places you eat and drink. Lovely. Will continue in a letter now!! Chatty Geli again, never finding an end...

  33. Oh .."Adventure over champagne or vice versa"! Happy New Year :))

  34. Wow, what a great post.

  35. What an unfortunate name for such a spectacularly beautiful place. My husband and I were lamenting the fact that we had missed the blue moon, but now you have shown it to us. Your images are astounding as usual. I especially liked the multicolored rock. Happy New Year!

  36. Thank you Rosaria! i'm glad you enjoyed them, maybe a trip to Death Valley is in your future plans?
    Oh thanks Wizz, I see you there. Glad you enjoyed!
    I tried to save you a place up front, I don't want you to rush! i got your letter and you will see my BIG reply! The photo was taken by a couple from Japan that spoke very limited english, but they knew what I wanted, and then we took turns photographing each other! Isn't camping fun? I'd love a'll have to tell me more about that...
    Hello Maximus!
    how are you these days? well I hope. Happy New Years to you too, thank you very much.
    Thanks Des, not too long I hope.
    I agree, I'd like to see it have an American Indian name, however it does reflect the history of the place, sad but true. Thank you for the kind words, I'm so glad you enjoyed!

  37. Happy New Year Lori! We were watching the Blue Moon on O'Connell Street New Year's Eve! I'm so glad I got to share it with you. And thanks for taking me to Death Valley with you. I've never been there before and it was amazing!! I love your pictures. Where are "we" going next time? I can't wait to find out.
    Love, Aden

  38. Oh Lori, I really envy you for living in the US, I do. I think highly of your beautiful country and will never forget the great times I had there. I have been lucky enough to visit some great National Parks, but Death Valley was not on the list.
    It seems to be awesome, I hope that someday I will be able to go! :)
    Till then I'll just enjoy your photos!
    What a great way to spend New Year btw.!!!

  39. Your photos are breathtaking! Particularly your sunset pictures - the colors are incredible! They turned out so well :)

    Impromptu adventures are the best - spontaneity is definitely a key to happiness :)

    My friends and I went camping in Death Valley a few years ago when it rained so much that for the first time in over a hundred years there were wildflowers growing in Death Valley - so we all packed up our gear and headed out. It was a blast!

    It sounds like you had a wonderful New Year's Eve, Lori. Here's to hoping that 2010 is wonderful as well :)

  40. Dear Aden,
    Seeing the Blue Moon on O Connell street sounds so romantic, but all of Ireland sounds romantic to me. I am glad you enjoyed the evening and now my post too. Thank you. (we haven't got a "next"). Yet. :)
    Thank you very much Michaela,
    I am proud of the U.S. and all it's many many treasures. I've been to every state but a couple and I've barely touched on all there is. I hope you come back someday too. I would LOVE to see Sweden also (and Norway and Denmark and..)i've only been as far north as Holland. Someday...
    I remember that year, wildflowers were going off all over California. We were trying to make it to all the spots, Anza Borrego, Carrizo Plain, Figuroa Mountain... how awesome you were in Death Valley! Did you get some photos? I bet they were gorgeous. Thank you for the wishes and kind words, same to you sweetie.

  41. Wow, thanks so much for sharing that wonderful New Year. What a fantastic , memorable time you both had and what a great way to start 2010. That big blue moon was pretty spectacular, your photos are amazing!
    I so glad you are feeling better and able to enjoy that glass of wine... A very happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!

  42. What an amazing trip you´ve done! And the pictures are awesome, I could almost feel I was there but I must go there personally!!I have already put on my list of "to go" places!
    We´re back home and I´m reading your posts , we´ve met lots of "closed for New Year" signs but it was okay, there were many other things to see!
    Happy New Year , Lori and family!

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  44. dear lori ann,

    i like you and i would like to be friends with you and i don't need any more time to think about it.

    you are my kind of person. i know you would be very very very fun to get in trouble with.

    please let me know if we can be friends and if you don't mind liking me not just a little but alot.

    i know i started off on the wrong foot but you know rabbits use their feet differently anyway, plus i'm at my best when i am kind of a wise ass (oops, don't tell kj i used that word please) so i hope you won't mind that sometimes.

    most sincerely

    emily rabbit

  45. Wow this was a lovely series of photos. As spectacular as the moonrise and sunset were, I was most impressed by those beautiful coloured rocks. I've never seen anything like that before. Just gorgeous. It looks like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  46. Thank you Sally Anne,
    it was great, i'm glad we were able to take off with no notice and have such good weather and a great time. You have a wonderful time as well with your family this coming week!
    Dear Mina,
    haha, we forgot about new years being a holiday too! i'm so glad your home safely and that you and your family had such a lovely trip, i think its awesome you could blog all the way through, what a keepsake!

    Thank you Hilary,
    i'm not sure if that occurs anywhere other than Death Valley, it is really a sight to see!

  47. Looks like an amazing trip! What gorgeous photos, thank you for sharing!

  48. Toot, Toot, Toot...I am tooting my horn for your "announcement on 1-87-10! Stupendous and transplendent!

  49. not sure if you'll ever read this - it being the last of FIFTY!? - but man, bloody fuckn AWESOME pics...and what a life....and as for your;re way too obscure and self effacing darlin'! BLOW THOSE TRUMPETS and you'll hear the rest of the orchestra playing with you. kabisa. and i am so sorry (and a little embarrassed and feel a sense of responsibility even) that you are inflicted with some AFRICAN sickness....sorry sorry...!? pole sana! sending radiant love so totally rock. x j

  50. Happy New Year Lori ann

    thank you for this wonderful adventure into the desert to see the blue moon of 2009.
    I am glad to hear that you are feeling more like your old self.I look forward to further chats in this new year...

    Happy days

  51. Kenneth,
    Thank you! I appreciate it.
    you are so sweet. Really, thank you very much.
    don't think that. no one's to blame, you know how much i love Africa anyway. maybe my immunity is better now heh? my next trip will be my fourth.and i can't wait to come back.
    Thank you honey for all the kind words, i wouldn't be having this much fun if it weren't for you. you know you were my inspiration, as well as my first comment.
    Thanks Delwyn,
    yes, here's to a happy and healthy2010! and lot's more blogging.

  52. Congratulations on your achievements _ I love that zebra one - I was in the Luangwa valley in the summer and took some pics like that (not nearly as good) and I see you know Janelle - in fact, my new blog site picture is one of elephants in Zambia that I took myself - although they've gone a strange colour Lx

  53. Sorry - must have left you with the wrong link to my NEW blog - (rather than blogspot) - you'll find the Zambian elephants there Lx

  54. I love all your photos and the biggest biggest congratulations for the well deserved awards for your photographs!!!
    Keep clicking

  55. How perfectly wonderful Lori! How breathe taking perfect. I can hardly find the words to express my feelings while reading this post. How nice that you and your husband had this adventure. Good for you both!

    Congrats on the awards for your photo's. What an honor. And you are so deserving of course. I will toot your horn even if you won't. :)

    XX Lori

  56. Your photos are completely breathtaking.. i feel myself almost gasping for breath after looking at each one. Your writing is also quite interesting to read! you seem to live such an extraordinary life! im jealous.. hehe

  57. Your photos are completely breathtaking.. i feel myself almost gasping for breath after looking at each one. Your writing is also quite interesting to read! you seem to live such an extraordinary life! im jealous.. hehe


xoxo lori