Snake Spires, Mojave NR, California
Mojave National Preserve is a park found in southern California about thirty miles from the Nevada border. The preserve was established in 1994 and protects a huge variety of habitats including volcanic cinder cones, large sand dunes, dense Joshua tree groves, and even a set of underground caverns. The altitude of the park, which ranges from 900 to over 7,000 feet, provides a variety of environments where temperatures and rainfall vary greatly throughout the year.
We chose this panorama to show you how desert are not all dead places. Deserts have temperature extremes and very low rainfall, but depending on their location, they are able to support many species. This location is from the southern portion of the reserve. Desert biomes receive less than 10 inches of rain per year, but look at all of the plant life. We visited the reserve in late April and were greeted with a spring storm moving through the park. A few weeks after these rains thousands of desert wildflowers will begin to bloom.
While the surface shows off Yucca, Creosote, and Bursage plants, there are also thousands of small animals in burrows just below the surface. Lizards can be found year round, even in the 100+ degree summers. The spires are too steep to support larger plants but it is probably home to birds and coyotes.
Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios