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California & Oregon Deserts
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"The Mojave is a big desert and a frightening one. It’s as though nature tested a man for endurance and constancy to prove whether he was good enough to get to California."
- John Steinbeck from Travels With Charley: in Search of America

From the sun-baked playas and salt flats of the Great Basin, to the arid high desert plains of eastern Oregon, to the expansive wasteland of the Mojave, the deserts of the American West were a formidable challenge to those who sought their fortunes in the gold fields of California or followed the Oregon Trail to the rich farmlands of the Willamette Valley during the nineteenth century.

It is difficult to imagine how arduous and dangerous such a journey must have been now that automobiles have made our deserts comfortably accessible. But they are nonetheless vast, stark, desolate lands of extreme contrasts. And therein lies their beauty and allure. A visit can be rejuvenating too, as there is tranquil solitude to be found in these places of wide earth and big sky.

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J10-28 Wind etched pattern in the sand. Sand Dunes area. Death Valley Nat'l Park. Inyo Co., CA
F18-14 Cholla Cactus. Pinto Basin. Joshua Trees National Park. Riverside Co., CA
L17-21 Dawn near the Jumbo Rocks area. Joshua Tree National Park. Riverside Co., CA
N26-05 Monzogranite boulder, joshua trees. Joshua Tree National Park. Riverside Co., CA
TH81893 The historic Kelso Depot became the Mojave National Preserve park's visitors center in 2005. Mojave Desert. San Bernardino County, CA
N36-22 Desert carpeted with Sand Verbena wildflowers. Anza Borrego Desert State Park. CA
H09-29 tracks in sand. Kelso Dunes. Mojave Nat'l Preserve. Mojave desert. Sn Bernardino co,CA
F59-22 Wildflowers. Eroded volcanic formations in Leslie Gulch. Owyhee region. Malheur Co., OR
J63-34 Covered wagons. Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Baker City, Baker Co., OR
L36-23 Steens Mountain across drying mud playa of Alvord Desert. Harney Co., OR
N33-21 ATV's, dirt bikes & dune buggies enjoy Imperial (aka Algodones) Dunes. Imperial Co., CA
L30-16 Barn at Chandler Station Ranch. Abert Rim (rear). Great Basin high desert. Lake Co., OR
J03-36 Salt & mud of the Devil's Golf Course. Death Valley National Park. Inyo Co., CA
J69-12 Lake Abert, an alkaline Great Basin lake. Lake Co., OR
F18-32 Joshua tree in bloom. Cholla cactus. Mojave Desert zone. Joshua Tree Nat'l Park. CA
N23-17 purple Sand Verbena. Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Riverside Co., CA
H01-02 Eroded sandstone. Red Rocks Canyon State Park. Mojave Desert. Kern Co., CA
L03-09 Plants in Eureka Valley. Eureka Dunes. Last Chance Range. Death Valley NP. Inyo co,CA
I25-13 The California Fan Palm at Una Palma oasis. Anza Borrego Desert SP. San Diego co.,CA
U27-27 Diverse plant life of Mid Hills area. Mojave National Preserve. San Bernardino Co., CA
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