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"I know you can't tell it by this barren landscape," he informed her, "but, a few miles to the east of us, is the San Bernardino National Forest. To the North, is the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, and to our south, is Joshua Tree National Monument."

"And what's to the west?" asked Charlie, for that was the direction they were headed in.

"Well, if you continued on this heading for a another mile or so, you'd be in Twentynine Palms," he replied, looking up at the night sky. "Don't worry, we should get to Harrison's Ravine, pretty soon."

"I hate to interrupt you two," said Bill, coming up from the rear, "but is there anything poisonous out here that I should be on the lookout for?"

"It's too cold for rattlers," said Adam, "but there's always scorpions."

Bill quickly pointed his flashlight down at the ground.

"I don't see anything," he observed.

"Don't worry," replied Adam, knowingly, "they're there. I remember once several years back, Mike and I were out driving in the desert in my old pickup, and nightfall came a little sooner than expected. Mike wanted to stop and go use the bathroom, so I told him to take the flashlight-- it was one of those blue ultraviolet lights. Well, after a few seconds, Mike came running back, his eyes wide open. When I asked him what had happened, he pointed the blue light down at the ground. The ultraviolet made all the scorpions light up, and the ground was teeming with little green bodies! After that, Mike just stood off the back of the pickup bed, to use the bathroom!" laughed Adam.

The musician's lighthearted story, however, had the opposite effect than what he had intended. Now, Charlie was looking a little unsure, as well.

"Is this really a good idea?" asked Bill, nervously looking around.

"That's why I gave you those thick hiking boots," Adam pointed out.

"Say," asked Kevin, seeing that their guide was answering questions, "are we going to see any tarantulas?"

At this, both Bill and Charlie stopped in their tracks.

"Tarantulas?" asked Charlie, incredulously. "I never knew there were tarantulas in the Mojave!"

"Of course there are!" laughed Adam. "But, they only come out to hunt at sunset and daybreak, so I don't think you'll get to see any."

"And I had my heart set on meeting one," sighed Bill, feigning disappointment as he tagged a little closer to Adam and Charlie.

The terrain began to get a little more rugged as they neared the ravine, but Adam expertly guided them through the brush and rocks until they suddenly came face to face with a tall, upright-standing rock. There were two others nearby, that also were standing up on end.

"Did you do that?" asked Charlie, curiously.

"Me?" replied Adam. "No. Those are called precarious rocks, or that's what the geologist called them. They've been standing here for hundreds of years, and probably will, for hundreds of years to come. You know, they say you're best chance to ride out an earthquake is near a precarious rock."

"Where's the logic in that?" asked Bill. "This thing looks like it would fall over in a strong wind."

"If no earthquake in the past was strong enough to make this topple over, then it means the ground is more unlikely to shift around here," explained Adam. "Where you see the most toppled precarious rocks, the ground had moved more dramatically."

"I guess that makes sense," muttered Bill.

Soon, Charlie found herself near the edge of a middle-sized ravine, that jutted into the desert floor.

"I thought you said the ground hadn't moved here for hundreds of years?" laughed Charlie, pointing a flashlight down at the bottom of the darkness.

"Once in a while, in the rainy season, water comes rushing through here, carving out more of the Mojave," explained Adam.
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