Traveling in the high Desert Left Us in Awe
Updated: Jun 27
I have a friend who is a photographer and adventurous as I am. In fact, on this last adventure, she turned and said to me, "We are such cool seniors." We laughed as we followed the dirt road that got rougher and with no perceivable end in sight. Caution needs to be taken when traveling in the high desert.
Her daughter had sent her a link to a place we had not explored in the high desert. Since we had both been up there many times, and I was one time the marketing person for the Joshua Gateway Communities, we couldn't believe there was a place neither one of us had heard of, and we had lived in the area for nine years.
We set a date, met up, and started our journey from Palm Springs on a recent Saturday morning. With the internet a tad unreliable in the high desert, she used her survival skills and took a snapshot of the directions in case our GPS went out, which it did about two miles from our destination.
Street Signs Traveling in the High Desert
I couldn't resist having her stop so I could take a picture of this street sign or, should I say, lane sign. How fun, and not something you see every day.
The grading of the road obviously caused the road washboard effect. Yet, we wondered why people would take such care grading the roadway up here. Then we looked into the horizon and could see there were some homes on large plots of land. Second homes or full-time residents? There was no way to know.
The directions told us to turn on the road to God's Love. Hmmm, was that a hint about what we were to experience?
At the entrance, two signs greeted us. On the Welcome Sign, which was permanent, and another welcoming wedding guests. Really? A wedding out here?? It must be a special place. We still had no idea what was in store for us at this point.
We stopped to check in and met a man who was knowledgeable about the area and told us he and his girlfriend led nighttime sound baths. He told us to follow him up the last .8 of a mile. It was getting more interesting all the time.
We parked our Car
With hat, suntan lotion applied, and our cameras and water in hand, we set out on the final leg of the journey traveling in the high desert. Just a short walk and we looked up, and there was a house made of concrete perched among the branches of a tree with mosaic decorated wall aligning the stairs. The house from the Jetson cartoons was right before us.
We proceeded up the hill, turned the bend, and entered a valley surrounded by boulders reminiscent of the ones found in Joshua Tree National Park. In the distance was the teepee the man had told us about and occupied by a long-time area resident. The man at the gate told us to be sure and stop and talk with him because of his knowledge about the area we were about to explore.
We smiled as we approached, for a large solar panel was right outside the cement teepee. We timidly approached, but no need. Sitting outside were two gentlemen having lunch. They were open and graciously shared what we were about to see. Yet, it still did not fully register what a unique experience we were about to have on this journey.
After warning us about the snakes, (my greatest fear), they sent us on our way and told us the places to explore. First, we came to the pond with a picturesque stone bridge, fish, frogs, and quails coming for a drink.
Then we wound our way up a path and came to a manmade small pool with an outstanding tree art installation made of stone gracing the one end of it. I think it may have seen many incidents of skinny dipping there underneath the star-filled nighttime sky.
In the distance, we heard roosters and a strange bird sound. It turned out to be peacocks secured in an art designer pen between some boulders. Similarly, the chickens had a pen with a large metal sun mounted at its entrance.
There was a table and chair under a tree, surrounded by nature, which became my refuge as my friend set out to capture the beauty of this quiet meditative space. When she returned, I asked if this place was a photographer's dream. She replied, "I could stay here for hours." Yet, we had heard the winds were to pick up, and this was no place to be caught in a windstorm, for it was clear blowing sand could close the roads quickly.
As we drove home, we marveled at what we had seen, and both said it was one of the more unique places we had experienced. I'm not sure I need to go back again, but I think my traveling companion will head up there again with a member of her family. A word of caution, this is not a place to travel all alone. It is too desolate if you run into an issue.
Traveling in the high desert brings many great rewards.
Where is it located?
With respect to the residents, I have not shared the name of the place nor its exact location. If you want to know the name and location, please leave your address in the comment section, and I will send you the information.
Kathy Condon is a freelance journalist and travel writer. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn't Hurt to Ask: It's All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net