Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drive In


Since the forecast was for a high over 90º, I decided to go up Hwy 74 today and get out of the heat. I chose the Sawmill Trail because the trailhead is only 15 miles from Palm Desert but the elevation is around 4000 feet so it'd be much cooler.

The Sawmill Trail shares the same parking area as the Cactus Spring Trail but while the Cactus Spring Trail goes down into Horse Thief Creek, the Sawmill Trail climbs up the side of Santa Rosa Mountain.

There are even a few wildflowers up here. A bee is gathering nectar from a Red Stem Filaree (Erodium Cicutanium).

It looks like the Sawmill Trail is more like the Sawmill ROAD. I drove up this thing years ago in my Jeep but I thought they closed it to vehicle traffic since then. I guess not.

Not far up the road, I come to this little waterfall with a small pool at the base.

Someone put a rope to climb it and I'm tempted but I'm not 22 and 170 lbs. anymore.

After leaving the waterfall I run into three women out on a little hike. They are surprised that I am only carrying a camera. I've been trying to carry the minimum amount of gear so I can cover more ground more quickly and it helps today because I make it up to the snow in no time. Of course, I reconsider my decision on the way down.

One of the remnants of the sawmill is this old kiln for drying timber.

There's also this old log splitter.

I didn't carry so much as a water bottle so I'm happy to come upon this spring. I'm thirsty.

I hike up about another mile and a half but turn back when the snow gets too deep and the "trail" disappears. The view from up here is spectacular looking out toward the Desert Divide and Mount San Jacinto.

Of course, my view doesn't compare to the one this Red Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, has.

Walking down the ROAD seems to take forever. Even though I ate breakfast, it's well past lunchtime and I'm hungry. I've decided that on any hike over five miles I need to carry a pack and proper provisions. As the weather gets warmer, I'll also need to carry plenty of water. The Sawmill ROAD is a worthy outing and is a nice escape from the heat below. Although I think the next time I go up it, I'll drive. I can't finish this hike fast enough and I have one thing on my mind.

Lunch. Drive-in style.

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