Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our house is built on sand

Flood damage in far North Joshua Tree. See the rocks on the surface of the sand.
My neighbor calls them desert mushrooms.
These are the first tire tracks across brand new virgin desert. That was a driveway.

A heavy storm laid waste to far north Joshua Tree last Wednesday dumping rain and hail for most of the day. Wind ripped roofs off carports. A neighbor told me flash floods lasted for two hours - it was the worst he had seen in 15 years. Tons of sand were pushed onto the road, making passage nearly impossible. Scores of  residents were stuck and needed to be towed out - mostly by other dear neighbors with trucks and chains. It's the desert way. Dogs were lost and dogs were found, fences having been ripped up and undermined.

Tons of new sand were deposited on our driveway. Our street is a literal sandbox. One end is impassable, a flash flood carved into the roadbed and replaced it with 8-12" of sand. We speed and fishtail through sand as deep as eight inches in our little rice burner. White knuckle driving and the smiles of the gods have prevented us from being stuck so far. We did pick up at least one nail in the sand and survived a blowout on the freeway. We made it to the shoulder and waited for AAA as cars sped past us at 80 mph rocking our car in their wakes.

The power of the storm is mind blowing. The landscape on our property is completely different. I'm not sure where to begin. The plants and trees are all still there but the water berms are all gone. Some cages are missing. Some washes are gone. New, deeper washes have appeared. My swales are gone - all filled up. I'm glad I didn't put too much effort into that.

A turbulent flash flood carved deep pools into the wash at my neighbor's house. This wash used to be flat.
All the trash that marred our portion of the desert is blown away, so now I'm glad I didn't pick it up. It's been replaced with new trash from other areas of the desert. What do they say? "A change is as good as a rest?"

I love living in a place where nature laughs at you.