Category: California names

California Desert Names

Guest blogger Susan Chesney writes about the evocative place and nature names of the California desert.

One of my favorite places is the California desert, because in that silent place there are many secrets.  Most people drive through the desert as fast as they can with their windows up, radios blaring, and air conditioners on. They don’t know about the gray-green sagebrush that grows in little clumps away from the highway, and that hidden among the clumps might be a bleached antler, lying in the sand. What if they knew that outside the town of Bishop, there are several hot ditches, natural and soothing hot springs, waiting to be soaked in, free of charge? Or what about this secret: that the desert is unpolluted– there is very little trash and the skies are a deep blue. I love the mirage effect out in the desert. There is a blend of haze and heat that shimmers and is mystical. In the movie “Lawrence of  Arabia”, when asked why he loves the desert, Lawrence replies, “Because it’s clean.”

Among the precious secrets of the California desert is the treasure trove of names that dot the landscape along with the cactus, lizards, and Joshua trees. There are little towns, rivers, lakes, hills, plants, animals and even colors in the desert that can provide inspiration for babies’ names. Some of these names are comfy or even popular like Owen and Joshua. Others are vintage, offbeat and quirky such as Aberdeen and Rosamond. So let’s wander out under the cottonwood trees that grow next to the crick (creek), set up some lawn chairs, and talk about California desert names.

Some place names from the California Desert:

ALABAMA – the Alabamas, hills that are older than the High Sierras

ABERDEENAberdeen trailer park

BERNARDINO – San Bernardino County, goes all the way to the Nevada border

BISHOP – biggest town in the Owens valley

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