Monday, May 14, 2007

Palms to Pines

The "Palms to Pine's highway, a.k.a. route 74, above Palm Spring.
Note there are no Palms OR Pines at this point.
The car and tiny figure (to the middle right) give some impression of the size this vast and rather brutal landscape. On this day the wind was so ferocious we only drove to about 2,000 feet or so, then feared for the Honda being swept away into the abyss by the blast! (This did not seem to deter the natives who passed us and zoomed on with a rather shocking distain for the curves, altitue and wind velocity!)
There is, however, actually some hardy, rather picturesque flora growing here. (It's a bit like Mars with castus, yucca, and aloe). I photographed some when we stopped to turn around.
Palm Springs was very pleasant last week, not exceptionally hot (for Palm Springs). It IS a surreal environment though. You can't see it in this photo but somewhere beyond those far hills is an unreal strip of unnatural GREEN which is the town of Palm Desert. Going up this highway is kind of environmental culture shock.
You leave the artifical lushness of the Palm Canyon highway (which runs from Palm Springs to Palm Desert and beyond) and ascend very quickly into this ominous Mercury-like terrain which reminds you that what you just left behind is in reality a fragile strip of civilization (if you call Starbuck's civilization) and, of course, consumerism, in an arid, burning desert.
One just hopes the water holds out for this and most of the rest of the west/southwest. But at the moment the prognosis does not look good.......
On Friday we left Palm Springs in a major sand/dust storm which closed one of the routes out of town.
On Tuesday we left the lushness of the Huntington in Pasadena to skirt the Griffith Park wildfire which was miraculously contained with very little damage.
This time........

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