DAY ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT
People say crazy things happen during a full moon. I don't know about that but it is one of my favorite times to hike. I love it. The moon casts light upon the desert that is otherworldly and since I didn't bring a flashlight it is the only light I have tonight.
As I start up the Gabby Hayes Trail in Palm Desert, the full moon starts to make its appearance over the top of Indio Mountain.
As it rises, I get a better view of the trail and I'm glad of that. Before I left, my wife made sure to point out to keep my eyes open for rattlesnakes.
On part of the trail the moon gets obscured by the mountainside. I hope there are no snakes here because if there are I cannot see them.
I get to a higher point where I can really take in the coruscating lights of the desert below. However, my limited skills as a photographer and the limitations of my equipment become more evident to me at night. It is impossible for me to get any shots to capture the beauty of the landscape under the full moon.
I can't even get a good picture of the cross on the hillside above.
I can zoom out but it doesn't capture what my eyes see. The mountain glows from the light of the cross and the moon casts its shadows on the hills below and I just can't get the picture to reflect what it really looks like.
I was going to hike up to the cross but my frustration at not getting a shot worthy of the effort dissuades me. I need to take a photography class or maybe just read the manual that came with my camera. I head down to where this palm tree is and opt for the flash since I can't do anything else right.
This little picnic area would be the perfect spot to just kick back, enjoy a nice bottle of wine and relish the view. Next time.
As I get down on level ground, I hear a sound that could be a sprinkler or a rattler emanating from this bush. Without a flashlight I am not about to go and check. As long as it is not by my feet, within striking distance, I don't care.
The magical glow of the moonlight on the hills and the peacefulness of the desert together create a calmness that helps melt my frustration at being unable to get any pictures I want.
Call me crazy but hiking in the moonlight is an aliment to my soul like no other. You don't know quite which way to go; every step is tentative. You're a little bit scared but excited by the thrill of the unknown. And the light that fills your eyes fills you heart as well.
It's like being in love for the first time.