Sunday, June 21, 2009

Trail of our Fathers


The Cahuilla Indians inhabited the desert for thousands of years before Europeans came to America. They were the original desert rats and the first trail builders in and around the Coachella Valley. In a sense, they are the fathers of all of us who hike here.

I went to go and hike by the Martinez landslide area but found the gate closed and locked. No Trespassing means "find another way" to an adventurer.

I parked on a road over by the Torrez Martinez reservation and walked along the flood control dike until I got to this little canyon near the water line of ancient Lake Cahuilla.

Down below the dike there is a lot of old junk from farmers in the area. Most of what's here are fire pots for keeping crops warm on freezing nights.

After leaving the junk yard I walk along this little trail toward the nearest canyon. I am aware that this was underwater at one time. Notice the travertine covered rock on the left and the waterline up ahead.

I know there's a trail on the hillside but I don't know where it starts on this side of the hill. It starts by the fish traps on the other side but here is harder to determine.

I decide to hike up toward this canyon instead.

It's a good decision because I quickly find a trail monument.

There are several all along the hillside and while the trail is not distinct it is pretty easy to follow. There are three trail shrines in just this one picture.

There are also a few sections where the trail really stands out.

I can't follow the trail very far and get to a place where I can't determine where it goes. It could continue up the canyon or steep up the side of the hill toward the ridge. It probably was not a good time to go exploring late on a Sunday afternoon in late June in the desert. How far did I think I could go?

Heading back down toward my vehicle I imagine how this area must have looked with a giant lake filling this entire basin. It had to have been incredible.

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