Life in the desert is something my mind could not even imagine when growing up in rural Southwestern Michigan. My days were filled with running through crop fields such as wheat and corn, making mud-pies after a deep rainfall, chasing and likewise being chased by farm animals on our neighbors’ farms and engineering new methods for speed sledding down our backyard hills without hitting an apple tree. When Genki Husband brought forth the idea of moving to California to the desert, excitement for wearing flip flops all year around grew within me but not without a tiny bit of fear of living in the landscape completely different from my juvenile days.
Desert living is something I never imagined but through panoramic views of the mountains, ever-changing vegetation hues and warmer winter temperatures, I am growing to appreciate the difference. Whether it is due to my newbie status to the area or not, each day the desert seems to change. Three months have past since driving into California for our new lifestyle and vegetation has gone from white to brown to green and yellow and now various flowers are popping up all around creating a rainbow of colors. Every time we walk outside, we point and take photos in true tourist fashion of all the new vegetation particular to this region popping up around our neighborhood.
To get the full tour of the desert lifestyle, I love going to the local parks in the Lancaster/Palmdale, California area to get enveloped in the charm of the area. If you are unaware (as I was merely 4 months ago), Lancaster/Palmdale is just over the mountains from Los Angeles, California. The mountains encircle the perimeter of the cities prohibiting the ocean breezes carrying moisture to the area creating a desert atmosphere. For this reason, this area which is between the 2000-4000 feet in elevation range is called a “high desert,” since it is technically in the mountains but still a desert. Landscape and vegetation in Los Angeles compared to the Lancaster/Palmdale area is much the same driving through residential neighborhoods at this moment but outside these main areas, the desert landscape is very apparent.
Never to my traveling addicted heart did I realize, before driving across America to move to California, harbors so many different types of terrain, right within our invisible boarders. My young heart wishes to travel the world, experiencing different types of terrain but now I know America beholds many of those on my bucket list. (Not to mention it being much cheaper this way too!) One day I will travel to these foreign lands again. For now to experience the desert experience, I have found a love for a local reserve called the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve.
Address: 43201 35th St W, Lancaster, CA 93536
Trail Hours: 6:00 a.m. to sunset daily
Interpretive Center Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m. (Sun, Wed, Sat)
Park Ranger: on Duty
Special Note: Dogs are not allowed, no exceptions. Not only is the land being preserved but likewise the wildlife in the desert. So please be respectful. Walking, jogging and running is allowed but please stay on the trails to not damage the area. Occasionally I will run on the trails and it is a wonderful experience, highly recommended. (After all, how many people can say they have run through a desert forest of Joshua trees.)