Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sheep Hole Oasis and Hidden Spring Oasis


I am so sick of this heat. It is less than a week until October and the high today was 117º. This is getting ridiculous. Thankfully, we are going to get some respite next week so I have something to look forward to. I seriously considered going to the Tram but didn't want to make the trip so I waited until this afternoon and headed over to the Mecca Hills for a hike to the Sheep Hole Oasis and the Hidden Spring Oasis. I'd hoped to make it to the Grottos but time wouldn't allow it today. I'll have to come back when it's cooler. As it was, I hiked an hour in the dark on the way back.

I get over to Box Canyon Road just as the sun is starting to set. The sun will be out maybe fifteen more minutes. I'm glad I brought a headlamp.

There's a sign at the turnout to the parking area now. Years ago there was only a gold painted rock to mark the right place to stop.

The sun is saying Buh-bye for the day. I figure I've probably got about a half an hour or so to get to where I want to before it gets dark.

Beyond here is a wilderness of canyons, coyotes and cacti.

Looking down from the ridge I can look down on the Sheep Hole Oasis. This oasis is a key watering spot for Bighorn Sheep in the area. There aren't many out here.

The sun gives off an orange glow and I try to move as fast as I dare; it's still over 100º.

These cliffs seem to me like they swallowed sunlight and are still giving off light.

It doesn't last long. As I make my way into the canyon, darkness descends.

At the entrance to the Hidden Spring Oasis I am required to bust out the headlamp. Tonight's half moon isn't much help.

About thirty palms surround a rock guzzler that's been built here. The oasis is growing with new palms coming up.

On the way back I hear a growling sound that startles me. I don't know if it comes from Kahlua, something else or my imagination. Whatever the sound was it paled in comparison to the yell I let out just after it. No doubt I scared whatever it was and it probably hasn't stopped running.

After an hour of hiking in the dark I finally arrive at a hiker's best friend.

Sorry, Kahlua. I meant second best friend. SECOND best.

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