California: Mojave Desert Shadow of Dryness

The Mojave Desert takes its name from ‘Hamakhaave’, meaning ‘beside the water’ in the language of the native Mohave people.

This high-desert area takes up a significant part of the state of California.

It’s boundaries are defined by the presence of Yucca brevifolia - Joshua trees.

Rain-producing weather is prevented from reaching the Mojave due to wind directions and mountain formations, thus casting what is called a rain-shadow - a “shadow of dryness”.

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Death Valley is both the lowest and hottest place in North America.

The desert is home to an incredible estimated 2,000 species of plants.

Reference: Wikipedia

California: Big Sur Redwoods and Whales

Big Sur is defined by a stretch of magnificent coast and the California State Route 1, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The name derived from the Spanish 'el sur grande' meaning 'the big south', referring to its location south of Monterey.

Three tribes of Native Americans - the Ohlone, Esselen and Salinan - are believed to have been the first inhabitants of the region.

Before the construction of the highway, Big Sur was a nearly inaccessible wilderness, rivaling almost any other region in the Unites States for its difficult access.

This remoteness attracted many writers and artists to find inspiration here, followed by musicians and filmmakers.

The California Gray Whales are currently on their migration back up to Alaska with their newborn babies by their side. As they swim quite slowly and close to the shore, this is the perfect time for a spectacular sighting.

Reference: Wikipedia

California: Palm Springs New Year Escape

Palm Springs is the ultimate desert oasis.

The perfect sun trap in the search for some winter warmth.

A pilgrimage destination for admirers of mid century modern architecture.

Uniquely positioned between the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Bernardino mountain ranges in the Coachella Valley.

A few days under these big skies is the perfect start to the new year.