It looks like next week will be really nice weather. Unfortunately, I just got the word that LA County has closed all beaches and trails. I don’t think that would include National Forest land, but what the hell. I’ll head out of town for a few days in the deep desert for serious alone time.
The deep desert is about as isolated as a human can get. People fear it. People don’t see the beauty in it. It is perfect for freehiking, just watch for rattlesnakes and be careful of sunburn.
California has its share of desert wilderness. It is not as easy for the desert to be wild as a forest or even chaparral. Due to the low density of plant life, you can often see for miles. If you can see signs of humanity, it isn’t really wild. Scars left by humans take decades, if not centuries, to heal. One large swath of it is to be found is in Joshua Tree National Park. Other areas with large holdings are Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve and vast areas of BLM lands.
The deep desert is not accessible by vehicle. Not legally, at least. You’re not supposed to drive off established roads. Some do and it destroys the pristine nature of the desert. I hope their tires go flat. Deep desert starts when you are far enough away from the road you can forget that there is a road. Far enough that the inexperienced could get turned around and lost. That’s why they mark trails, so people don’t get lost.
If you want to leave the people behind, you leave the trail behind and take a map and compass. Or get good enough with the sun and stars that you don’t need one.
I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert, you can’t remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.
The vehicle entrances to Joshua Tree NP have all been closed by request of the CA Governator. But the trails are still open. If I am lucky I’ll have the place all to myself.