Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mountains, Desert, Sun, and More

I'd like to say that I haven't posted anything in a few weeks because I've been on vacation the whole time, but that's only half true. The other half is related to returning from vacation during one of the busiest work months of the year. But enough whining.

I had an amazing vacation. My fried Joe, a Chicago transplant to San Diego, took my girlfriend and I on quite a trip. These shots are from my new digital camera a Canon A620, and I'm pretty damn impressed with it so far..... though not as impressed as I was with the vacation.

First, Julie and I explored a bit of Mission Beach.

The next morning we drove East through the mountains and headed out to the desert, rented 4 wheelers and went exploring. We probably got a good 8-10 miles deep. Having never been to the desert, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I wasn't disappointed.

It was a very humbling experience, especially when you've gone a while without seeing any other people and the above is what it looks like on all sides. The terrain changes very often. As you can see off in the distance, at times it is rugged and nearly impassable, at other points the sand is soft and dune like, others sections are hilly. A friend asked me how you keep your sense of direction out there, and the only thing you can really do is orient yourself to the sun. After a few miles, the landscape all begins to look the same.

At one point, looking around, I was struck by the fact that a good number of Mexicans are willing to chance walking - walking! - through this very desert. And why? An opportunity at mopping a United States bathroom floor at some nominal wage? That ought to tell you something about the opportunity cost of residing in Mexico when traversing the above is one's best life opportunity. Seems to me that the root of our immigration problems lie amidst the rampant corruption and lack of institutions - both democratic and economic - to our South.

Anyway, as rumor of night came we found a place to camp and set up. You can see from the bundled up girls that the temperatures cooled pretty quickly.

Here's a shot of the campfire, I just took it experimenting. Kinda cool.

A few beers and some grilled chicken later - out in the middle of nowhere desert land - we had a visitor. Because of his movements and shape he earned the name Ping. We dropped some peanuts on the ground and he proceeded to stuff his cheeks like a little chipmunk.

I suppose he was some sort of desert mouse, but he wasn't ratty at all, with big beautiful almond shaped eyes, and a ridiculously long tail he ran in and out of our camp until he was completely comfortable and decided to stay and run around our feet. You can really get a good sense of his tail length from this picture. (Yep that's his tail continuing on the other side of the chair leg.)

The next morning we woke to the sound of winding two stroke engines and a few small planes landing on the desert airstrip, about 100 yards to our South. We packed up and it was off to Glamis desert. Driving up to it was a scene right outta Star Wars.

Joe and his beloved Jeep (with Ramona)

After a few hours at Glamis, it was time to head back towards San Diego, but not before stopping off in the mountains for a hike through the valley. Here's the view from above.

We eventually made our way down to a crystal clear mountain stream with more than a few waterfalls.

Pretty stunning scenery all around, we got a bit of everything. But this is just a summary. Julie, who is twice the photographer I am, has a few rolls from a very nice traditional camera. I'll post some of those soon and hopefully get back to some regular blogging as well. Thanks again Joe and Emily for a great trip!


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