We were hiking down a canyon in the Newberry Mountains (these are the Newberry by Laughlin), when I saw a rock in front of a small cave and it just didn't look right. So I looked through my 8x36 binoculars, (which is about as small as I would recommend to somebody who walks the desert) and saw that this rock was actually a rattlesnake, and so we climbed up to take a closer look at it. It turned to be about 4 feet long, and one of the most unique rattlesnakes I have ever seen in that its camouflaged scheme matched the white granite perfectly. Without these small but good quality binoculars I would have never realized that rock was indeed a rattlesnake or learned about the unique camouflage.
On most binoculars you'll find between the two barrels a small often hidden cap that will unscrew and reveal a standard quarter 20 thread. It is there so you can attach them to an adapter and then mount them to a tripod. By doing this you can double and perhaps even quadruple your chances of seeing wildlife as well as your understanding of the local area. One of the reasons for this is what I call paying attention - if one only has 8 or 10 dollars of attention to pay. And they're paying about two dollars of attention just holding the binoculars with their hands, and another two or three for just standing up. That's 40 or 50% of your attention, which means you will see only half the wildlife that you could, or it will take you twice as many days to see it.
Another major benefit to using a tripod is, it eliminates unwanted movement and vibration. Not only does this vibration, reduces your concentration and has the effect of lowering your image resolution, thereby lowering your visual awareness of the situation
Strolling through the desert with superpowers can be an awesome thing. Once I was with a group of 10 or 15 people and we were walking along a small desert stream talking and paying little attention to our surroundings when I saw some rather large bushes on the hillside a mile or so away. So I brought up my 10x50 binoculars to look them over, and saw four or five Bighorn sheep next to them. I have no doubt that they knew we were there and they figured that we could not see them. And for the most part they were correct, except for those with superpower eyesight. So they milled about and paid no attention to us.
However, after watching them for a while I was able to deduce that there was a small spring next to these bushes. Later in the day as we ended our hike in a deep canyon next to some beautiful petroglyphs I began to look around again with my binoculars, and lo and behold, high on the hillside there was a giant saguaro cactus. As best as I could tell this was the only one in the area and perhaps the next saguaro cactus might have been 100 miles away.
This subject is rarely discussed and is often overlooked by many who walked the desert. However, the right optics can bestow superhuman powers on almost any one; and to somebody who has experienced this superpower of observation and has gotten used to it, walking through the desert without their superpowers seems to be limited and perhaps pointless. Once you have a good set of binoculars and learn how to use them, you can extend your awareness of the environment out to perhaps 5 or 10 times the size that you would have without them. While this alone qualifies you as having superpowers there is much more. This is because your awareness goes far beyond your presence in the environment.
This is to say you can detect an animal long before they are able to detect you. And so you will gain experience and knowledge that can only be acquired through superpowers. You will learn from the ultimate masters, like a coyote and Bighorn sheep, allowing you a deeper and more meaningful insight into the ways of the desert. And as you learn, you will intensify the feedback loop between knowledge and wisdom.
While it seems it was a long time ago, I remember it well. It was sometime in August, early in the morning and it was already getting hot. When I left my home in Barstow to go out riding on my brand-new motorcycle, my wife did not ask where I was going because she knew that I didn't know or care. So before long I found myself gassing up in Lucerne Valley where I decided to ride to Newberry.
And so I rode around Ord Mountain and down through Kane wash to Newberry, where I drank some water out of my canteen, topped off on gas, and rode off, and soon found myself riding down through Afton Canyon on my way to Kelso. However, it was starting to get quite hot - I suppose somewhere around 115°. I was also getting a little tired and worn out from all this riding. So somewhere on the other side of Crucero I decided to head for Baker instead of Kelso. This meant taking a shortcut across the Devils playground.
The Joshua tree like all plants can teach us a lot about the environment that they inhabit, so we must understand the mechanism of each plant to understand them and their environment.
With that in mind we know that all plants have a particular temperature sunlight, water, and soil condition that they need to grow.
So let's start with temperature we know that the Joshua tree rarely grows below 3000 feet and rarely above about 6500.
What this tells us is this the Joshua tree can withstand high temperatures but not as high as the Palo Verde or smoke tree.
Then at the other end of the scale it can withstand freezing temperatures but only to a point.
Also because of its particular design, the area around a Joshua tree and a Joshua tree grove tend to be a cooler place.
The reason for this is that the design and shape of the Joshua tree; in particular a mature Joshua tree casts a large and dens shadow on the ground.
And one can often trace out this shadow on the ground by the smaller plants that grow their.
Another unique feature of this design is that it reflects the sun's radiant energy back up into the moving air and away from the ground.