17 May 2018

The wonderful deserts of the South West

The wonderful deserts of the South West. A blue sky with only a few small clouds, a strong sun, enormous heat and an endless stroke of black asphalt… These are the desert areas in the South West of The United States, which get millions of visitors annually. 

The deserts in the Aride area lie in the shadows of the coastal mountains along the Pacific Ocean and are being protected by the Rocky Mountains. Here you can enjoy one of the most grim and spectacular landscapes of the world. Because of the wind, water and changes between cold and enormous heat some of the mountains have been turned into beautiful rocky formations. The sand stone bow in the National Park in Utah is a gorgeous example of this phenomenon. 

In Death Valley it gets the hottest, driest and lowest. This valley is 225 kilometres long and varies from 8 to 25 kilometres wideness, it starts in the South East of California and goes further up North. The valley is covered with sand dunes on the bottom, the lowest point is 86 meters below sea level. Making that the lowest point on the western hemisphere. On both sides of the valley rise weathered bare mountain slopes with very little flora, hinds the name Death Valley. The temperature can rise over 50 degrees Celsius during the summer months, not really pleasant for a visit. After a very rare heavy rain fall the valley comes back to life and the soil gets covered with gorgeous coloured flowers.  

The Mojave Desert is located in the South of California. Here you will mostly find mountains, pebble basins and salt plains. There are only a few small trees or bushes. You will mostly find the tree Yucca here, also called the Joshua tree. Legend has that if you lost your way in the dessert this tree can help you find your way back to habited world. All you have to do is follow the route to which the branches point. It rains a few times every century in the Mojave Desert. This desert also comes alive when it rains. 

Even though the living conditions are so terrible, there still are animals living in the deserts of The United States. For instance, you can regularly see a roadrunner run by. This animal looks like a bird even though he can barely fly. His diet consists of snakes, insects and lizards.  
Antelope squirrels also do very well under these living conditions. You will mainly find them on large rocks. Here they stand on the lookout for food, even during the hottest hours of the day. Later they will go back into their little den to cool down. In addition to these animals the red lynx, ferrets and the larges lizard in the world, which can get 50 cm big, also live in the deserts.