Saturday, April 16, 2011

Emulating Alice

I'm thinking about the theme of my blog: "Santa Barbara Sketches," and the fact that this month it would be fitting to call it "Sketches of Joshua Tree National Monument" instead. I've been here twice recently: first, for five days, followed by a four day break; and then, for seven, which expanded into fifteen when I realized I still hadn't had my fill of this place. And all of those commitments on my Santa Barbara calendar--appointments and meetings which I value (and which will likely, and hopefully, be there next month and the following month as well), and my mail piling up day after day--couldn't justify my leaving here.

Joshua Tree is a wonderland, where I just happened to have landed this year, for the first time, in the heart of spring


  1. Hi Aneet,

    "Emulating Alice" sounds like a great name for a movie. Isn't it amazing how blue that sky is? I noticed that myself when I was in Sedona.

    How on earth did you ever zoom in so close to that snake?? If I was in your shoes, I probably would have ran so fast,I would have made it back to New York in about 23 minutes.

    Joshua Tree National Monument looks like an incredible place to view nature. I know you love that so much.


  2. Hi Jonathan!

    You have such a great sense of humor. Twenty-three minutes! I can just see that mad dash from California to New York. It made me laugh.

    The snake, I was told by a park ranger, is a red coach whip. It was about seven feet away and quite peaceful sunning itself in the morning light. I cropped the photo to bring the image closer. During my stay, I saw only two snakes and none poisonous. Considering the amount of time I spent in the park, and how intently I was looking, those are pretty good odds. I doubt that the average parkgoer ever sees a snake at all. I did take the precaution, however, to walk very slowly in deserted areas and to listen carefully for any rattling sounds. That exra attention is well worth the reward.

    So nice to hear from you. My Regards, ~ Aneet

  3. Hello Anitra-

    Beautiful pictures as usual. I never realized that the desert could have such diverse colors. One would normally just expect various shades of brown or orange or red.



  4. Well, it's not like an English garden, but because the desert is so spare, every little bloom holds such significance. And I think a lot depends on the particular desert and the amount of rainfall it's received.

    Thousands of people flock to The Anzo Borrego Desert every year to see the wild flowers. There were many more colors where I was than I could post on the blog. So glad you liked the photos Joseph. Always enjoy your feedback. My Regards, ~ Anitra

  5. For a moment there I thought you had a photo of a Rattlesnake.
    But, it's not. Same colors.
    That's a Gopher Snake-perhaps a Lyre Snake.
    See here:
    You can always distinguish a Rattlesnake or a Pit Viper by its arrow shaped head. (The Rattlesnake's relatives Stateside are the Copperhead and the Cottonmouth [water mocassin]) The fangs retract into the head. Hence the head shape.
    Those photos seem other worldly to me. What a grand landscape-and of the cacti.

  6. Ah! A Coachwhip. My bad for doing some delving and not reading comments carefully. Never seen a Coachwhip.

  7. Joe,

    Nice to hear from you. Interesting fact about the shape of the snake's head in relationship to the fangs. I had never heard of a coach whip either, but he/she had a docile quality that didn't seem all that threatening.

    Take Care, ~ Aneet

  8. PS: So glad you like the photos :)