A few years ago we found ourselves in Grand Canyon during the last week of April. We tried for and were issued a walk-up permit to backpack down into the Canyon, spending a few blissful days and nights soaking in its grandeur. Right then and there we got hooked on the splendor and intimacy of a trek below the rim. And so every last week of April since, we have made it a point to return to that big crack in the earth and tackle a below-the-rim route.Read More
In the latest dearantler show we attempt to convey the indescribable allure that the desert has for us. My deer relatives, accustomed to the nourishing bounty of Southern California's oak woodlands and chaparral-covered hills, turn their ears away whenever I sing the desert's praises. E+J tell me that their human brethren often greet them with similar disinterest, asking questions like: "What's so special about the desert? Isn't there just a whole lot of nothing out there?"Read More
Though I'm a mule deer by birth, at heart I'm a desert rat. That is to say that, while I would never trade the life-sustaining bounty that the oak woodlands and chaparral-covered mountains of my home provide, if given the chance to saunter off to an unknown place for a few days, I will gladly choose a desert landscape. What is it about these arid lands that draws me in? In part, it's the elegant simplicity of the landscape -- no towering trees, no verdant, superfluous overgrowth under every fallen log, no view obscured by heavy fog. In the desert, an invisible hand seems responsible for placing each rock and plant just exactly where it belongs, like a sparsely choreographed dance forever fixed in place. But what calls me to the desert even more is the simple fact that every living thing there has an innate will to live that's stronger than anywhere else.
Lucky for me, E+J share a similar curiosity for the desert. And so we found ourselves exploring a few less-traveled corners of the Colorado Desert of Southern California over Memorial Day weekend.Read More
Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks are two of California's best-known desert parks. But there is a third lesser-known destination that blends much of the beauty of the two and provides vast open spaces with far fewer people. Welcome to Mojave National Preserve, where 1.6 million acres of other-worldly rock formations, singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones and the world's densest Joshua tree woodland await.