Monday, June 1, 2009

No Man's Land


I never run out of places to hike because my home is surrounded by wilderness areas, National Parks and Monuments, Forests and BLM lands. If only I had more time.

This afternoon I went out exploring south of La Quinta between the Martinez Landslide and Devil Canyon. I want to explore this area more but it is getting hot and that allows for me to only go for a couple of hours at a time. The reason I want to explore here more is because I know that one day this land will be developed. Once it is developed it will be a sea of homes, streets, fairways and cart paths surrounded by walls and guarded gates, inaccessible. Right now it's just rugged desert awaiting exploration.

I want to make it out to the big canyon in the distance and back before dark. It shouldn't be too hard because while the terrain is fairly rocky at least it's flat.

Or so I thought. The alluvial fan that I thought was somewhat flat is pocked with lots of little canyons where the substantial runoff from the slopes of Martinez Mountain heads toward the Salton Sea.

This solitary Ocotillo should be a good marker for me on the way back. Notice the Salton Sea in the background and the water line of the ancient Lake Cahuilla on the mountainside to the right.

Judging by these survey markers, I am not the first person here and I would assume that preparations to destroy this pristine desert land are well underway.

I try to stay in the shade but will head for the hill where the light still shines.

A nice little dry waterfall greets me. This is along a wide wash and the rock here was just too hard to be washed away.

I walk along the top of the ridges looking for remnants of an Indian trail but I don't have much luck. I find a number of little rock piles along the way and a few traces of trail but nothing substantial enough to even take a picture of.

I also find more survey markers well up near the entrance to the canyon. I wouldn't think there would be any development up this far but judging from some of the desecration of the mountains in South Palm Desert you never know. Of course, these may be archeological survey markers as there are a large number of those rock piles in this area.

Looking up the canyon only increases my curiosity but it's getting late and I don't want to walk through that rocky landscape after dark.

I could go down to the wash but it's about a hundred feet down loose, rocky soil and I don't want to risk it. I'll stay high for a while.

I get to a place where I have to go down and it's only about forty feet. Luckily, I only slip on loose rocks a couple of times and manage to keep my balance. Whew!

I'll just follow the wash out and see where it takes me. I hope I don't step on a snake but the going is good and I make it to my Jeep with about fifteen minutes to spare.

I know this canyon and some of the others around here will be on my fall list to explore. I've got to get it done while I still can. Who knows how long until this No Man's Land is no more?

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