1st week on the job!

So much on my mind!

First off, Hello from Ridgecrest, CA!!! A beautiful piece of dirt and rocks that creosote and some other amazingly adapted plants call home.

I dont even know where to begin explaining the strange journey it’s been out west. As a native Midwesterner, moving to the desert was a huge shift. I drove from Lawrence, KS. As I slowly inched across the highway the land went from a lush spring green to a increasingly more arid landscape. As I crossed through western Kansas into southeastern CO, I began to question my journey. Seeing the Midwest form of a “desert” and fearing how much worse it would be once I finally got here. As someone that has spent his entire life in the Midwest, it was quite a dramatic turn of events.

Once I was here, I didn’t believe it. I still have trouble remembering where I am when I walk outside. The Sierras in the distance. The brownness.

“The desert is a long and brown land” – A quote from a natural history book I’m reading about the area. This is truly a fascinating place. I am in the Indian Wells Valley that is on the east side of the southern extent of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To the south are the El Paso mountains, which are littered with Creosote and Lysium shrubs. The flowers are amazing. So many new species and genus. However it’s been fairly frustrating that a key hasn’t been written in the past decade (or at least none of the books anyone has given me are recent) and many of the genus have been renamed. The joy of taxonomy!

Our project seems interesting. There weren’t that many collections from the previous year and this year seems to be a big year for flowers. I wish the internship would have started a month ago, as the learning curve seems steep and the diversity is surprisingly high.

This weekend we are planning to go to Death Valley and Darwin Falls. Apparently there is water out there.  Although when one looks at the landscape, I find it hard to believe.

 

This is a photo over looking Rigecrest. 20160314_174120

This beautiful looking shrub I believe is Lycium andersonii

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The infamous California Poppy Eschscholzia californica

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More to come soon!

Robbie Ray Wood

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