Life in the Dunes (3 photos)

The first three images from a recent outing to Algodones Dunes – the first and as it looks right now the only one in 2015. I brought my “universal hiking lens” (Nikon’s 24-120/4VR) with me this time in addition to the wide angle because I also wanted to make photos of the sparse plant life in the dunes.

I find it utterly amazing how plants are able to find spots to grow enough in this extreme and ephemeral landscape. The three photos show Brittlebushes growing in the dunes, and each of them seems to be a tiny little oasis for little critters like lizards, beetles, spiders and other insects (I noticed plenty of Tarantula [Pepsis] Wasps buzzing around, for example). Small tracks in the sand lead to the bushes and all around them. As they scurry over the hot sand they probably find just that little bit of necessary shade under the leaves. Maybe some also feed from the leaves or roots.

I’ve been repeatedly asked about the dunes and visiting them in the summer when they’re nice and untouched (in winter, they’re heavily used by off-roaders). You really have to sync your plans with the weather. Monsoon storms are possible in the area from July through September usually, which means higher humidity but lower temperatures and a cloud cover.

And you’ll have to be flexible. The weather forecast for the dunes is only really useful 24 hours before you want to visit, often even less. On this particular visit I checked the weather report and it didn’t look so good the day before. In the morning however it had changed from “partly sunny” to “mostly cloudy” so I made the decision to head out in the afternoon.

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