Monday, March 9, 2009

The long and the short of it.

I've been feeling a little sleep deprived lately and finally having a day off I determined I had two choices: I could have a long nap and a short hike or a short nap and a long hike. I managed to compromise, sort of; I took a short hike in Long Canyon.

Long Canyon is north of Desert Hot Springs and, while I've known about it for years, I had never been there. Judging from today's adventures, I haven't missed much. Of course, maybe I just didn't go far enough.

Driving over to DHS, the wind was screaming. It had to be over 40 MPH in places and it really made me wonder why I didn't bring a jacket along. It was totally still at home but DHS is notorious for wind so I should have known better. With the clouds hanging over the mountains and the pass, you know it's going to be windy.

You drive up Long Canyon to the parking area at the edge of the wilderness and park in the shotgun shell strewn lot near some large boulders.

The wilderness sign is riddled with bullet holes and is near the edge of the parking area.

I very quickly realize that although I am technically in the wilderness I am walking on a road. And a road that is frequently driven. This makes me angry in two ways. One, I'm mad that people would disrespect the wilderness area and drive their vehicle into it. Two, why in hell is this designated wilderness? This route has obviously been used as a driving route since the beginning of time and should still be open to that, especially since it's in a wash. The tire tracks will only remain until the next rainfall.

I come to another barrier for vehicles which has been torn down. If you're going to keep vehicles out of the "wilderness" at least make a sturdy barrier.

I never reach the end of the road before my short hike in Long Canyon is over. I wonder how long I'd have to go until I hit an actual trail?

There were a few flowers blooming, at least, like this Bladder Pod.

If I can say one thing for Long Canyon it's this: once you're in the canyon at least it's not windy.

I think I know why they call it Long Canyon. Once you've hiked there it'll be a long time before you want to come back.

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