Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cross Country


I am looking forward to having a vacation. Maybe then I will have enough time to have a leisurely hike and be able to explore until I know what awaits around every bend.

I headed out after work to hike to the Palm Desert Cross and see what was on the trail beyond it.

This is a good hike to do in the late afternoon because the sun is behind the mountains and the temperature starts to cool.

The trail continues beyond the cross so I decide to keep going hoping that I'll come out somewhere near a road where I can walk back to my starting point.

As you walk down the trail beyond the cross, you can look back up the hill and see the back side of the cross. (Click on picture to enlarge).

The trail continues until you drop into this canyon where you can see the trail climbing out the other side.

This is a great little canyon which has water in it. It might be runoff from the golf course but it looks to me that this water is naturally occurring.

The trail then continues until it crosses a road to the Stone Eagle golf course.
They make it well understood that you are supposed to stay on the trail, which is my intention anyway.

You soon come upon another canyon and I decide to take it for two reasons. One, I love exploring and this canyon looks interesting and two, it's getting darker and I need to figure a way to get out of here and back to my Jeep.

This is a great little canyon that has a good steady flow of water running down it.

There are some palms growing here although they may have been planted because they are all suspiciously about the same size. It's a pretty spot I'd like to return to sometime when I have time. I'd like to see where this canyon comes out.

Off to the side of the canyon is a trail out and it looks like Fred Flintstone left a table here.

I find this road and follow it out.

I get to a real road and make my way back to the Jeep by following a flood control canal. It's not too bad and I only have to hop one fence.

I got back just after dusk but don't tell anyone. I don't want to be thought of as an outlaw. At least, not for something this trivial. .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All Better Now


Last night I slept like a baby and today I am much less grumpy. It's funny how that works.

Some days I don't really have any idea where to hike so I just go and wander around. I like those hikes because sometimes they lead to fun discoveries but other times it's just fun to be outside for a couple of hours.

I started by going to find a geocache. I thought maybe I could get my kids to go but they were too busy playing with their friends to hike with the old man. Besides, with the world going to be getting swine flu any second they want to play with their friends while they can.

The geocache is somewhere up here.

There it is!

I dig it out from under the rocks and check inside.

I decide this little billy goat might be fun for the kids to play with. Believe it or not, this is the best thing in here.

I put in a Hartmann luggage lock. If you need one, you'd better hurry.

Here are the coordinates.

I start hiking around to see what I can find and come upon this cairn. There's no trail or anything so I keep walking.

There's another cairn. It again doesn't designate anything so I knock it down.

I decide that while I'm up here I'm going to climb to the top of this little peak.

The view from the top is great. When I look down I notice that someone put a bolt into the rock up here.

Here's a closer look at the bolt. I have no idea why someone would climb up here with a bolt in their pocket or why they'd wedge it into this rock but they did. Probably the same people who build the cairns that lead you nowhere.

This area west of La Quinta is the most untrammeled area out here. It's rough, rocky and leads nowhere. It's a perfect get away minutes from home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tomorrow Is Another Day


Some days you wish you could take a Mulligan, like today. Everything just started out wrong from the time my wife woke me up an hour before I had intended on awakening.

My wife is the most wonderful person I know but she has one terrible flaw: she's a morning person. You know, the energetic, cheery people who always smile and say, "Good morning" in a sing song voice at an hour when the only sound that should be heard is snoring. They would be the life of every party if every party were held some time before noon. After noon, they're ready for a nap. They have never seen Letterman, Leno or Saturday Night Live. Don't even think of mentioning The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Good Morning America is their idea of a talk show (I've never seen it myself). Morning People have a place in the world, I guess. It's their job getting things ready for the rest of us. They're like prep cooks. Only prep cooks let the chefs sleep in.

I think it must be lonely being a morning person because she seems to think it is OK to start a conversation with a sleeping (non-morning) person. I have told her the only reason to wake me up is if the house is on fire but not once has that been the reason for our early morning all-too one-sided conversations.

Usually they go like this:
Wife: Good Morning!
Hal: mmmbmbmsbbm
Wife: Are you going to make the kids breakfast this morning?
Hal: What?!?
Wife: Are you going to make the kids.....
Wife: Well, I was wondering if you were going to make the kid breakfast this morning.
Hal: Whatever! They'll have cereal or donuts, I don't care. I'm asleep.
Wife: well, they have a big day a school.
Hal: Can you see I'm asleep?
Wife: It's such a beautiful morning out, it's cool and so clear...
Hal: Sounds like a great time to sleep. Is it still dark out? Good night!

Such was my morning today. Being awakened before your time is disconcerting and throws your whole day into turmoil. First, I left my hiking shoes in my wife's vehicle and had to retrieve them. Then, I left my camera in her vehicle but only realized it after I got to the trailhead.

And what an ugly trailhead it is.

The trailhead for the Morrow Trail is just west of the entrance to Lake Cahuilla. However, there is no sign designating it as such and there is a big pile of trash right near the parking area. If I didn't know this was the place to park I would never think about hiking here. Maybe that's the point.

The trail walks by the Quarry Golf Course to the top of the La Quinta Cove but I don't have time to cover the whole area. I'll only go about half way and then come back.

You'd think there was an old mining camp here but those are just props for the golf course.

A large Desert Iguana lounges in the shade along the course. Ordinarily I'd take a close up but my camera is in my wife's van.

This statue is a good turn around point today. I think public artwork along trails is a nice idea that should be expanded. I know it's for the golf course but I think a statue in a remote area might not be a bad idea.

As I walk back, I notice a couple of stray golf balls WAY out of bounds. Obviously, I'm not the only person in need of a Mulligan today. Maybe we can both sleep in tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Samuelson Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park


Last week I went out to Joshua Tree to visit Samuelson's Rocks. I never made it. I saw some other cool stuff including a well but no rocks. This morning it was time to try again. My time was quite limited because of the need to drop off and pick kids up from school but that's how my days go.

I start hiking and find what looks like a trail but it quickly fades out. From where I parked this is going to be a fully cross country excursion.

I wander across the open desert looking for some rocks. These rocks look very promising.

And for good reason. I have made it to the Samuelson Rocks. Finally. I'll just let the rocks speak for themselves.

There may be other rocks and sayings in the area but, like I said before, my time here is limited. I'll have to come back when I have more.

In addition to the rocks, there was also a lot of historical litter of the type that is very common as old homesteads. No need to post any pictures of it but you can see it when you go and visit for yourself.

On the hike back to the car, a Turkey Vulture (I thought it was a Golden Eagle but have been corrected) flew within about 100 feet of me. He was cruising the desert looking for varmints and looked up and figured I was just a bit too big for an easy meal. He veered off to the side and I caught this shot of him.

It took a rare breed to settle in an area like the desert of Joshua Tree. Someone who was independent, a bit rough, anti-establishment and maybe just a little crazy. It certainly seems Mr. Samuelson fit the bill here. You may never find any of his thoughts and saying in a book of great thinker or philosopher but this little corner of the wilderness his words are forever etched in stone.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Stroll


I wish I had more Sundays off, especially during football season. But, alas, I work in the hotel industry and Sundays are a busy day for us. I cannot remember the last time I took Sunday off so I decided to take it easy on my hike instead. OK, easy for me.

The Southern part of the South Lykken Trail starts near this welcoming sign and if I didn't know any better I'd think I shouldn't hike here. Keeps the crowds down.

Here's a little trail side memorial. Is the person buried here or did they die here? If not, then this is not an appropriate place for their memorial. Just like those people who turn their vehicle into a rolling tombstone by plastering a memorial on their car window. Have a little respect for the dead, please.

About 1/2 a mile up the road you get to the actual trail.

One thing hiking in the desert does is make hiking elsewhere easy. Desert trails go UP! I like the no-nonsense nature of a lot of our trails because you gain elevation quickly.

Gaining elevation quickly is good because it gives you access to great views. I guess that's why they have a Vista Point. I don't know who Simonetta Kennett is or why they named this place for her. Maybe I need to start putting signs with my name around when I go hiking.

The view certainly is nice. And the picnic tables are a nice touch.

During my short little afternoon stroll, I came upon three signs bearing people's names. I guess we all want to be remembered so I'm going to make a request. After I'm gone, don't put any signs up bearing my name or build any shrines or put my name on your car. Just name a mountain after me. This one would be OK. To start.

And a couple picnic tables on top would be OK, too.