photography


Not Back to School Camp is one of my very favorite things to do, and advisee group is one of my favorite things to do at NBTSC. At the recent Joshua Tree session, I led my 40-somethingth advisee group, and documented our getting to know each other:

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1/20/2015

 

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1/20/2015

 

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1/21/2015

 

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1/23/2015

 

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1/24/2015

 

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1/25/2015

 

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Last day of camp, 1/26/2015

 

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I’m especially glad to have my mom present for her birthday today. We came close to losing her twice in the last year–scary, painful experiences, but quite clarifying. It can be difficult to know what someone means to you without experiences like that. The best way I can think to say what I learned in the last year about my mom is that she is the heart and soul of my family and that when she does eventually die, the world she’ll leave us with will be more sad and empty, less rich and inspiring than the world we get to enjoy today.

So today I’m celebrating my mom and her 66 years.

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Mom, after Christmas 2014, with Christina & Julian

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Mom, after Thanksgiving 2014, also with Christina & Julian

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Mom in 1951, with her brother Don.

 

In chronological order:

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Pano with Dandy, Grace & Yared on the way to camp

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Margie, Yared & UHaul

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Staff loading into Latgawa, some frozen in action for my pano

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Pre-camp staff meeting

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Staff watches sunset pre-camp

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Evan, Emily & Tilke

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Spencer & Yared

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Camper conquers giant stump

 

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Opening circle

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Song leading

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Evan warms up for his monkey act

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Swimming pool

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Yared & Nathen…err…Skylar

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Pasta-making workshop

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Skylar asleep behind meeting

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Last meeting shot

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Advisees acting out each our embarrassing stories

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More embarrassing story skits

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Yared & Evan play pool volleyball

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The minnows

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Ping-pong table hangout

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My awesome advisee group

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Staff + graduate meeting

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2014 Latgawa graduates

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Reanna & Dandy tow the U-Haul

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Zen & Yared pump up Grace’s flat

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Grace shows off her new trailer back in Eugene

 

I’ve been learning to ride a motorcycle for about a year now. Lately, that’s looked like taking my youngest brother’s old dirt bike out to find microconfluences.* This gives me a reason to take longer and longer rides from home, and takes me to spots I wouldn’t have thought of to go. Each of the following three that I found last week took me on the longest ride of my life so far.

They turned out to be on Sunny Sands Drive, the road I used to live on with family friends, the Murdys, when my family moved back to Joshua Tree in the early 1980s. The first microconfluence was so close to their house that I dropped by for a visit, but they weren’t home. It was just off Sunny Sands and Border Avenue:

Sunny Sands Drive. I used to spend evenings on this road with my friend, Chad, as a kid, playing "Don't Break the World," AKA trying to tunnel through big dirt clods without breaking them.

Sunny Sands Drive. I used to spend evenings on this road with my friend, Chad, as a kid, playing “Don’t Break the World,” AKA trying to tunnel through big dirt clods without breaking them.

This was as close as I wanted to get to the spot (34.2x-116.3 or N 34 12′ x W 116 18′), as it was in the driveway of this house. It’s about 200 feet directly in front of me in this photo. You can see the Bartlett Mountains in the background, AKA Rollie‘s Mountain.

The next was east on Sunny Sands all the way into Sunfair, which is technically a neighborhood of Joshua Tree, though we all tend to think of it as it’s own place.

This is looking down into Sunfair from the north tip of the Bunker Mountains. Sunny Sands is the road heading off into the east. The microconfluence is close to where Sunny Sands ends.

This is looking down into Sunfair from the north tip of the Bunker Mountains. Sunny Sands is the road heading off into the east. The microconfluence is close to where Sunny Sands ends. You can see the dry lake to the right, where all the washes in the area empty to. You could call our valley the Sunfair Dry Lake Drainage Basin.

 

The spot, 34.2 x -116.25, or N34 12' x W116 15'

The spot, 34.2 x -116.25, or N34 12′ x W116 15′. The closest mountain is Bunker Mountain. To the right of that is Bartlett Mountain. Beyond them to the left are mountains in Joshua Tree National Park. I believe these are called the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Behind them, just left of center, you can see the peak of San Jacinto Mountain. Reanna and I just took the tram up there last week.

Pano from the spot

Pano from the spot

Screenshot from Maps With Me

The third spot was technically not on Sunny Sands, because of a weird jog in the road. It was on Fairmont:

Looking west towards the spot.

Looking west towards the spot. You can see Pipe’s Canyon, the gap in the mesa in the distance, and the San Bernardino Mountains beyond that, with San Gorgonio. Big Bear and Big Bear Lake are up in those mountains.

You don't want to get too close to people's property in north Joshua Tree. They are probably nice but may have a gun and might not like you taking a photo of their yard. The spot is just outside their fence.

34.2 x -116.35 (N 34 12′ x W 116 21′) is about 100 feet into the desert across the street. You don’t want to get too close to people’s property in north Joshua Tree. They are probably nice but may have a gun and might not like you taking a photo of their yard.

Pano from the spot

Pano from the spot

Screenshot with Maps With Me

Screenshot with Maps With Me

 

*As defined by Charlie Lloyd, a microconfluence is a spot with latitude and longitude even at 100ths of a degree. I’ve been finding microconfluences which are also even at minutes of latitude, which I think of as “minute-microconfluences.” This puts them a few miles apart at my latitude. Links to my microconfluence adventures are here.

I was in the gym after work on Thursday and realized I’d rather be hiking. I decided to find the minute-microconfluence nearest the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, which turns out to be N34 6′ x W116 15′ or 34.10 x -116.25. (Altimeter seems to be broken most of the time these days, so I downloaded DMS converter between DMS and decimal coordinates.)

It looked about a mile from the park entrance parking lot, so I parked and headed northeast through open desert from there–an area I’d never walked through.

I got some great vistas on the way.

Sunfair dry lake through a notch

I was impressed with how every patch of soft sand was filled with tracks.

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I thought this trek was taking me over ground people don’t really go, which may be true. The spot, though, turned out to be a few feet from Burro Loop Trail, which I would definitely take over the through-the-desert approach next time.

The area

The area

The spot

The spot

Panorama from the spot

Panorama from the spot

The coordinates on Maps With Me

The coordinates on Maps With Me*

And a couple hundred feet down the trail right next to the spot:

 

On Maps With Me I found I could put a bookmark on the coordinates I was looking for and then get a direction and distance indicator that led me eventually to the spot. It was good enough to be useful.

Reanna and I took a drive into JT National Park after work today, to see the wildflowers before she leaves for a natural building workshop at Quail Springs Permaculture. We parked along the road and hiked a few minutes south to see a microconfluence. It ended up being a fair scramble, too, 3/4 of the way up the pile of rocks behind Reanna here:

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It was a bigger challenge to find the exact spot up on steep rocks than in previous, flat spots (here, here, here & here), because of the climbing and being a bit out of breath, but more fun, too. Here’s the spot:

microconfluenceAnd the view from the spot:

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And the proof according to Altimeter and Maps With Me:

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I drove to a nearby microconfluence today, on my lunch break. (Others here, here, and here.) It was beautiful. It’s just north of Rincon and east of Quail Springs in Joshua Tree:

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The area

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The spot

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