Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)

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.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

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Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

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Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues in the modern era, what is the true distance between the ghost towns?

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain an unofficial rivalry that continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and Aurora, NV boomed with the gold rush of the 1870s and busted just years later when the gold ran out and faded into history.  Miners, merchants, and people would undoubtedly moved either direction between the two cities and with good fortune would undoubtedly talk down the previous city.  Such is human nature, but why would this rivalry continue long past the demise of both towns?

 

The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

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Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

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.

 

 

Downeyville, Nevada

Downeyville is an old mining camp and ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada.  In May 1877 silver-lead discoveries in the area caused a large influx of start up mining camps and development.  Most of a local site, Ellsworth, made the journey to the yet to be named location.  So many people made the trip, that frequently, they were greeted with no accommodations and would be forced to sleep outside or camp.

The town of Downeyville was founded in 1878 and had a populationsof 200 men, stores, stables, Wells Fargo Express, saloons and stage lines.  A post office was added in March of 1879 and the town was named after the first postmaster, P. Downey.  By 1881 ore was shipped to the nearby Carson & Colorado railroad for processing, until a lead smelter was constructed several years later.  Like many boom towns, Downeyville passed into history with the next big discovery and by 1901 the post office was discontinued.

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