We walked up and out of Sandy Valley, deep into the Mojave desert of southeast California.
Up and over a pass, we came down into a wide and sweeping desert valley, 20 miles north of I-15. The sun glowed golden and illuminated the mountains on either side of the valley.
As we walked down Kingston road all day, the light moved and shifted and revealed a valley floor covered in a forest of Joshua trees, stretching away in all directions and fading to a soft green against the distant mountain bases.
From a car window rocketing across this landscape at 70 miles per hour, it must seem barren and void of life; but moving on foot, it becomes clear that even in this harsh and unforgiving land, there is life everywhere.
The shrubs and cacti and joshua trees grow heavy and impassable in some places; little holes and burrows perforate the soil around every bush and shrub, lived in – or once so – by all manner of insects, spiders, mice, birds, and snakes. Black desert beetles and camel spiders wander the endless desert, aimlessly listing from shade to shade as the sun rises and falls.
We camped that night in the valley of Joshua, and felt the powerful, raw mystic energy of the western desert rise up and charge our roots with warm and wondrous sparks. I felt wired in, grounded in that place. I ran with Max in the twilight, tracing the paths of washes and rabbit runs and leaping over bushes and cactus, as the sunlight fell and bent and fractured into every shade of the rainbow across the electric desert sky.
upon close inspection,
the ground beneath your feet
is but sand and crumbled rock;
but far across the valley of Joshua
reaching far into the heavens,
the mountain seems solid enough.
I stayed up late that night as our fire died, wrapped in a blanket and staring at the moon. Poetry, life lessons, past mistakes and triumphs all roiled through my mind. All the while, the most unreal realization: We just walked to California.
The next morning we walked on toward I-15, picking our way along rough sand roads and washes.
Kait’s cousin Charlie called – he plays bass in Chamberlin, and the band was on the road between LA and Vegas. They wanted to see us as we passed in the desert, and they brought us a roadside picnic of pizza, beer, and all things good. They’re such nice boys – listen to their sounds.
And we came to Baker, where we ate and bathed and washed our clothes and filled our water. And now we are off again, following the I-15 corridor to Barstow, and Victorville, and ocean view sprawl beyond.