Monday, June 8, 2009

Social Climbers


I actually started to do two hikes today but only completed one. It's a good thing, too, because if I had completed the first hike I'd have never taken the second one and that one was better.

I went this morning to go and hike near the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Visitor's Center. The weather was not too hot and I hadn't been in a couple of months. The last time I came there were still wildflowers in bloom. Not so this time.

I forgot my hat at home and so slathered myself with sunscreen and hoped I wouldn't get too cooked in the time I would be out. This trail was originally created for people to walk their dogs on after they got booted off the Art Smith Trail but the Bighorn Institute complained about it being near their facility and so now dogs are stricken from this trail now, too. I didn't get too far when the batteries went dead in my camera. No hat, no dog, no pictures: that's three strikes so I'm outta here.

Later that day....
I decided to put my hike off til this evening. The sun would be behind the hill or some clouds so I wouldn't need my hat. I charged the camera batteries so I'd be getting pictures of the hike. I brought the dog. Also, some kids as well.

We went to the area near Lake Cahuilla where Ranch of the Seventh Range used to have a horseback riding stable. The shoreline of the ancient Lake Cahuilla is very visible in this spot. Nikolas had fun explaining to his friend, Jakob, about the ancient lake and how it once filled a large portion of our valley.

We hiked up the hill near these remnants of the old fence put up by the stable.

When we got to the top, we saw a trail heading up the hillside. This very well could have been an old Cahuilla trail. The trail doesn't look like one that a stable would want their novice horsemen using but you never know.

Looking down from the trail you can see how this must have once been a beautiful sandy cove at the ancient lake. Rather than trying to "save" the accidental Salton Sea maybe they should just fill it up again and make a huge lake. Sure, some farmland would be lost but imagine a freshwater lake twenty times larger than the Salton Sea. It would be the most popular destination in the world. Just let me buy some property here first.

We hike up the trail and then around the far end of the mountain. On the way back I ask the boys if they want to do a little climbing. Being boys they live to climb so I knew what the answer to that question would be.

As we make our way to the dry falls that we are going to climb, I notice another trail and figure this will be a good pathway down.

Nik starts the climb but soon realizes the hiking stick is not doing him any good. He would rather use his hands on the rock so he tosses me the stick. It's dad's job to carry all the extra stuff, in case you didn't know.

The boys quickly make their way up the rock and I follow behind. It may look scary but it's a pretty easy climb with ample hand and foot holds. I wouldn't let them do anything really dangerous without proper equipment. It feels exciting for them, though.

Nik supervises Jakob as he makes the crux move to the top. After topping out, we walk back down the trail I spotted and he back home. The trail is pretty eroded but passable. It was actually more treacherous than this dry fall.

It was a terrific little hike for all of us and I'm glad we got to do it on such a nice day. It was also wonderful to have a little company along. Most years you would never want to be out here in June but today it was perfect even if it didn't start out that way.

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