Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10
Display Avatars Sort By:
Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10 on 12/18/2010 11:25:00 MST Print View

Fleeing L.A.,
navigating a sea of cars, idling and lurching, the 10 Freeway a river of bodies, lights, and machines.
Office Max's and BJ's Breweries, one after another, the day fast approaching that we will be able to get the same great products and customer service that we've come to expect anywhere on the globe.
I'm not a praying man, but a prayer unconsciously escapes my lips nonetheless: Please just let me get to the desert and everything will be alright.

1

Clouds thickening, darkening, speeding to the trailhead
Change clothes, shoulder pack, go.
Tightening cuffs, drawing up hood, leaning into a freezing spray of fine rain,
the desert slowly darkening, sky whited out, a steel blue-gray light;
I'm lost in a world of wind, water, dirt, plants, I can see sheets of rain approaching on the horizon, wind-whipped yuccas in the gusts.
Undoubtedly others have walked this valley, long before the age of machines.

2

How old could this footpath be?
Pondering how trails are passed from animal to human, human to human, one generation to the next, disappearing between floods and droughts, reforming, nobody knowing with any certainty how long they've been there.

3

Darkness now, I keep walking, cross-country, headlamp held low, beginning to fear I'll get lost in the thick cloud cover.

4

Suddenly crashing, ripping, cracking. I freeze, ripping off my hood to hear better.
A flash flood, somewhere close, now panicked because I can't see, unsure if I'm on high ground.
It sounds like rockfall but it doesn't stop, the bass of tumbling boulders, surprising absent of the sound of water.
Half a minute passes, the sound dies down and I calm my nerves, sensing with my feet which way is uphill, only knowing I have to get there for the night.

5

6

Edited by xnomanx on 12/18/2010 12:02:57 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10 on 12/18/2010 18:03:58 MST Print View

"Clouds thickening, darkening, speeding to the trailhead
Change clothes, shoulder pack, go.
Tightening cuffs, drawing up hood, leaning into a freezing spray of fine rain,
the desert slowly darkening, sky whited out, a steel blue-gray light;
I'm lost in a world of wind, water, dirt, plants, I can see sheets of rain approaching on the horizon, wind-whipped yuccas in the gusts.
Undoubtedly others have walked this valley, long before the age of machines."

Eloquently, exquisitely put, Craig. Doesn't get much better, does it?
I wonder how many of us experience it that way but don't have the words? Thanks for putting it out there.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10" on 12/18/2010 20:59:37 MST Print View

Craig,

This is good stuff. There is a certain mystical madness to this cryptic report of yours. Perhaps it's possible that the great Mojave Desert was relinquishing itself through wind and rain, welcoming home Captain Beefheart, and you were simply a fateful witness to a great event.

RIP Beefheart.

Great writeup Craig.

Edited by Eugeneius on 12/18/2010 22:18:23 MST.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Craig's report on 12/18/2010 22:08:23 MST Print View

For me, the desert is a haunting place, where spirits seem to dance in the fire's shadow. Exactly the feeling I get from reading your account. This story took me back there. Thanks.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: "Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10" on 12/18/2010 23:18:55 MST Print View

This was a pretty surreal one, a beautiful, eerie, profoundly solitary vibe; I didn't hike in more than ~7 miles, but ~5 of it was in the dark...It felt a lot like another planet when the clouds rolled in- all the yuccas looked like ghosts, twisted monsters, people; At one point I seriously had to do a double-take because I thought a man was silently standing next to the trail looking at me. Egads!

I go solo a lot, but I'd be a liar if said I didn't get a good case of the willies on this trip.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: "Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10" on 12/19/2010 08:41:06 MST Print View

Sweet report Craig. I miss the desert. Night hiking out there is special.

Michael Reagan
(MichaelReagan) - F

Locale: Southern California
Beautiful on 12/22/2010 14:59:32 MST Print View

Just beautiful, inspiring prose Craig. Joshua Tree is my favorite place on earth. It has lifted my spirits and filled me with a peace almost beyond words on many occasions. Thanks for the photos and lovely report, brother.

Michael

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Nice Report on 12/25/2010 08:58:37 MST Print View

Nice report.
Don Van Vliet was a great loss:-(

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: Covington Flats, Joshua Tree, 12/17/10 on 12/25/2010 16:00:09 MST Print View

Craig,

As a performing artist, I really appreciate your poetic description of your journey. I was completely engulfed in the whole experience. The scene in which you allude to the massive throngs of people we call neighbors and the concrete jungle we toil in day after day brought to mind the anxiety that I experience when I'm desperately trying to escape the confines of our over-crowded, sprawling village. Your unconscious prayer is similar to one that I have actually mumbled when heading to the wilderness. I tell myself that once I get there I'll be alright. Things will be better. Life will be good again.

As for the desert, I found your words to be haunting. I felt a certain excitedness and suspense. Strangely, however, I felt a peacefulness in this new world you've stepped in to. This was one of the BEST trip reports I've ever read on BPL! I also teach and I'm on Christmas break right now. If it weren't for me having a very sick dog at home, I'd load my pack and be in Joshua tree tomorrow.

Thanks for an inspiring report.

Kendall

PS Just my .02 :)

Edited by socalpacker on 12/25/2010 16:01:06 MST.