At the top of Kelso Dunes!

Since starting my internship at the park, I’ve come to realize there is a lot that goes to interpretation in the park service. We have done work with school and college groups to teach them about the history of the park along with its geology. The highlight of this week was going camping to Mojave National Preserve in southern California. The trip was led by my supervisor Ricardo Escobar, who took us to many different sites to see the flora and fauna of the park. The trip was sponsored by Latino Outdoors; an organization with the mission to involve Latinx to take part in outdoors activities to connect with flora and fauna.

Mojave National Preserve

During the trip, I got the opportunity to meet many people from all different backgrounds who are were on their way to work for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Due to this great diversity of people who studied different fields such as biology, criminal justice, and even fisheries. It allowed us to see the many aspects of the environment around us. The Mojave National Preserve possesses many natural features such as dunes, mountains, and forests. The park contains the highest concentrations of Joshua Trees which is the largest and densest in the world.

Lots of Joshua Trees (They are a great indicator species since they only grow between 1,300 feet and 5,900 feet)

Our first stop during our trip was Teutonia Peak trail in which we saw a copious amount of Joshua Trees and walked on Granite rocks to the top in which we could see the Cima Done and Kessler Peak. During the hike we saw different types of birds which I am still learning the names of and saw a Kit fox. This is all much interesting since in this Mojave Desert temperatures can range from 110®-120® during the summer months with low humidity, low pressure, and high temperatures, yet life still finds a way to survive in such harsh environment.

Me and Anna next to a cool sign

My favorite part of the trip was the Kelso Dunes which might not have been everyone’s favorite since it encompassed hiking to the top dune at very steep incline. This was a challenge since every step you took was two steps down. This was probably the hardest hike I have ever done, but the view from the top made it all worth it. Other interns said they would never try this dune again; I think of doing It again for sure.

Kelso Dunes- Mojave National Preserve

Our last stop was going to Zzyzx an oasis at the edge of the Mojave National Preserve which is where the Desert Studies Center is located. It was interesting learning about the wildlife and history of the area . After exploring we went into the vans and went to Baker to eat Greek food.

Kevin Garcia an LHIP (Latino Heritage Internship Program) happy for being at top of of Teutonia Peak.

Overall this was a significant experience for me, I got to meet people from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds whom not only I’ve built a relationship with, but also considered friends now. I challenged myself during the hikes along with learning a lot about the environment around me and its value. I highly recommend attending Latino Outdoor outings to everyone since going to one did not only prove to be a fun activity, but also proved to be a life changing experience in which I made friends along the way.


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