My December 2019 Photo of the Month is JT145, a black and white looking East as the Christmas storm that brought snow to Joshua Tree was coming in.
I said I wouldn’t do it. After last year’s incredible debacle at Joshua Tree National Park, I seriously questioned spending another Christmas in Joshua Tree. In fact, recently there was the threat of another government shutdown before a spending bill was signed.
Another factor was staying to the South, where it is less popular and more quiet. This area, around Cottonwood Springs, hosts a large campground but it feels much more calm. It is a great place to reflect. This ridge looking East has always been one of my favorite views in Joshua Tree National Park.
I also drove up and down Highway 177, getting a good sunset of the Coxcomb Mountains. I have gotten bored with standard sunsets. I felt this image was a better candidate for the Photo of the Month, though.
The final drive was out to the “ghost town” of Rice, which I remember distinctly as a kid. Time and looting has changed what I remembered, and now it is basically a shoe memorial. Strange outposts in the desert often meet that fate.
Christmas in Joshua Tree wasn’t too bad this year. I had to leave early on the 25th with a storm coming in and going to work on the 26th. But I have seen snow in Joshua Tree before, so I don’t think I missed out.
And this concludes 2019. This was a difficult and trying year for me. Stress from the demands of life, career, and even my trivial pursuits added up. I spent more time feeling beat up and sick than ever before. Here’s to a better, more prosperous, less stressful, and more fruitful 2020 (if I can manage to tune out the election coverage).
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.