It’s April-somethingth-2020, during the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic. (The very scary part.)
By some weird stroke of luck, I found myself living temporarily in the high desert when Covid-19 hit. As I watched the world shut down around me, I felt incredibly lucky to live in a landscape that felt open and infinite.
I was based in Morongo Valley, and all the nature preserves around me, and Joshua Tree National Park, had long since closed — dissuading LA travelers as well as interstate tourism. But if you were willing to venture further out into the real wilderness, there were some random parks and preserves still open.
I’d met a fellow photographer around Landers, CA the week before and he tipped me off to a wildflower bloom just about to happen inside the Mojave Desert. He told me he’d just been to the Cadiz Sand Dunes, about an hour past Twentynine Palms, and about 50 miles from the nearest town or civilization in general — and that there were flower buds everywhere.
Given my obsession with the desert landscapes, the plant and wildlife within it, and a pretty open schedule, I set off a few days later in search of these magical blooms. I called up my friend Nick — a fellow nature and adventure enthusiast— who was in for the trip as well. We looked at a map and saw that the Amboy Crater was close to the Dunes and decided to tack that on, too. I picked him up in my Jeep (roof removed and windows wide open, it was pandemic season after all) and we set off for a daytrip to the middle of nowhere.