The Joshua Tree was named for the biblical character by the Mormon Setters as they crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid 19th century. It is told that the tree reminded the early Mormon’s of Joshua who, much like the tree, held his hands up in prayer. From these humble beginnings, the Joshua Tree and their undulating shadows have become of an icon of the desert southwest.
Originally known as Blake, Goffs, CA is a small unincorporated community located off of Route 66 in the Mojave desert near the Piute Mountains. Originally named for Isaac Blake, builder of the Nevada Southern Railway, the town was named Goffs in 1902, when it served as a railway stop, and housing for the Santa Fe Railroad.
The story of the westward expansion is the story of the railroads. Beginning in 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad sought expansion opportunities along the western coast of the United States. To secure a foothold into California the railroads must cross the Mojave Desert and the depot in Kelso was crucial to accomplish this goal. Located at the junction of Kelbaker Road and the Kelso Cima Road, the Kelso Depot stands in testimony of the technological progress of the nations trains.
There was never a point in time that I was not aware of Joshua Tree’s. Growing up in Southern California, they are a common site in the high desert and after all there is a National Park named after them. Many nights I have spent camping in the national park and asking my dad about the Joshua Trees. They are just so weird. Their limbs twisted in the wind. They thrive in the harsh desert environment, yet don’t offer much shade. The are a symbol of the desert southwest, and perhaps would be THE symbol of the desert south west if not for the saguaro cactus.
Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora) also known as Hollyleaf gilia and broad-flowered gilia is a flowering plant commonly found in the open flats or sandy areas and can carpet the western Mojave Desert. The wild flower grows at 2500 to 4000 feet in elevation and grows to reach about 18 inches in height.
The plant features a small five leafed flower about one inch across which is purple in color and features a white throat.
Typically a Southern California Flower, the Davy Gilia has been observed in southern Nevada in the areas surrounding Rhyolite and Beatty, NV.