11.24.2015

High Desert Cabin: Welcome to My New Desert Hideaway


North of Joshua Tree the high desert landscape opens up, falling away from the San Bernardino mountains towards distant dry arroyos and lake beds. In this area, small homestead cabins were built in the 1950's and 60's mostly by families on the other side of the mountains, 2 hours away in the Los Angeles basin.

This is were my cabin sits, out in the open desert with creosote bushes to soften the sandy landscape. The views that surround it make for an endless day of sky, sun and shadows, clouds and winds. The desert slope here washes gradually down, like a tilted table top you can't quite get even. Look for the light blue rooftop to find the cabin.



Homestead cabins were owner built, first as simple open box structures.  Later they added flooring, bathrooms (if water was available), kitchen nooks and bedrooms. First without water or power, those services were gradually brought out to many of the properities, although it's not uncommon to find cabins today still without any utilities available.




While it's not too far out on a dirt road for an emergency trip down the road to the market or gas station, it invites one to stay for awhile once you arrive.


Once here, it's easy to fill a day with exploring animal tracks in the sand, cloud gazing and soaking up the open space.  There's time for translating the freedom that this open space brings into creative play.


At night, it's impossible to ignore the big sky, revolving with stars and cross country plane lights. It wasn't long before we added deep patio chairs and a good set of binoculars to the cabin's contents for our evenings outside.

Here is the cabin as I found it. I'll be sharing with you my journey to make it a hideaway for long desert weekends. Right now I am observing the seasons out here, making improvements and changes most important for each as I create a space for comfort and retreat.

2 comments:

Lynn said...

Maybe a tree? I'd love to see the inside.

Jen O said...

Good question about trees--it's high desert, so trees aren't natural to that region--with the exception of Joshua Trees if the climate and altitude are suitable. Right now with the drought, there's no water so some trees that were planted around neighboring cabins are dying. I'm going to keep the vegetation native, but may introduce some larger shrubs to fill in the open area, however that is essential as a fire break (!)