The mountainous desert area of Wonder Valley, California is ruggedly beautiful. It's unlike any place I've been in the United States. The stark contrast of colors between the bright blue sky and tanned rocks is stunning. However, what sparked my interest most were the shanties sprinkled throughout the Joshua trees. They are everywhere- at least 2,500 abandoned settlements still stand amongst the desert floor.
In the late 1930's, the federal government dispersed land to accommodate those searching for a homestead. At the rate of approximately $125 for five acres, many took advantage of the deal and set out to make a life in the desert. However, resources were few, and jobs were scarce. Migration to cities steadily increased, leaving only remnants of its inhabitants.
There is ongoing debate about whether to demolish the dilapidated buildings or preserve them as a piece of history. The once occupied homes add to the beauty of the landscape and shows how nature continues to prevail- regardless of human intrusion.