Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Rainbow Desert, 1957

Californians don't have to drive too far to visit a real desert - the venerable Mojave, just hours from Los Angeles. But you know what? It ain't no Rainbow Desert. (With that double negative, perhaps I'm saying that it IS a Rainbow Desert. What do I mean? Nobody ever knows).

I think I've seen some barrel catcus, and maybe some jumping cholla, but I've sure never seen a saguaro during my drives through the Mojave. As you know, saguaros have been voted "Most Popular Cactus" in "US" magazine for four decades in a row. Sorry, prickly pear! 

In the 1800's and early 1900's, most saguaros were killed for their oil, which was used in a variety of products (giving men's hair that glistening sheen, and keeping watches running accurately, for instance). When will we ever learn? Fortunately, they've made a comeback, but in the 1950's they were as scarce as ivory-billed woodpeckers. Which makes this tableau that much more impressive.

And here's a familiar view of strange rock formations sculpted by angry bees over many millennia. Note the little coyote, trapped in a hole by the bees so that he will raise their larva. You can see the pueblos perched precariously atop the buttes and mesas. How did they get to McDonald's? The McRib is back!


Nanook said...


A twofer of the Rainbow Desert - complete with utility poles. (It was such the modern desert-!) Love those little pueblos.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The Living Desert was always the highlight of riding the Mine Train for me. So much to see and so much going on in one area. Also, loved the gradual descent into the area that continued on to the Rainbow Caverns entrance. Thanks, Major.

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

While Big Thunder Mountain will always be a great ride, I will regret never having ridden the original mine train through nature's wonderland, as it was way ahead of my time. Then again, even if it was during my time, I still would not be able to see it because I live on the east coast. Now I'm thinking about how we never received the Westward River Expansion here. :(

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, if only they had had smoke from tiny cooking fires coming out of the pueblos. No detail is too small!

K. Martinez, well, I expected you to be excited about the utility poles, but I guess you’ve just become jaded. ;-)

The Disney Dudebro, just imagine if they had built the Western River Expedition instead of just building another “Pirates” ride. Everyone on the west coast would be jealous of the unique and amazing attraction in Florida! I know it would have cost a lot of money, but it sure would have been spectacular.

K. Martinez said...

I was excited about the utility poles, but I thought too hard about it and got too excited and had a brain fart.

Utility poles! YIPPIE!

Melissa said...

Saguaros are the cactuses
That look like green coatracktuses.

Bryce said...

I don't remember ever seeing the pueblos before! (Or maybe just never noticed them.) How odd! Thanks for posting these.

DrGoat said...

We are lucky here in Tucson to have two Saguaro National Monuments on either sides of town. Can't throw a pebble without hitting one. They are magnificent.