Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bear Creek Palm Oasis, La Quinta


I did NOT want to go hiking today. This morning I woke up with morning sickness, or what I'd imagine morning sickness to feel like. My head felt like a cactus had taken up residence within my skull and it seemed like two porcupines were doing battle in my gut. My son brought home some 24 hour flu bug home from school and shared it with the family. At least it's not H1N1. Yet.

Determined to do the hike that I'd been hoping to do for weeks, I set out to hike to the Bear Creek Palms. The Bear Creek Palms are a small oasis high on the north side of Sheep Mountain in the Santa Rosa Mountains. Getting to them requires a hike about eight miles and an elevation gain of around 2000 feet. It is not a good hike to take when you're sick.

The Bear Creek Palms are not really in Bear Creek and I've always known them as the High Palm Oasis but the trail starts from Bear Creek and that's the more common name for them.

This is Bear Creek as it cuts a deep cleft in Sheep Mountain.

The first mile of the hike follows the wash from the top of the La Quinta Cove and is really pretty flat. From there, the trail steadily gains elevation.

As you gain elevation the views really open up. First, Mount San Jacinto comes into view.

Then, Mount San Gorgonio.

Out to the Southeast the Salton Sea fills the horizon.

I get to the high point in the trail and can look down at the palms but I've got to head back home and get to work. It is an easy hike from here but I won't make it today. Feeling sick slowed me down a bit and I've run out of time.

These rocks are usually a good lunch spot but the thought of food right now makes me nauseous.

The trail feels twice as long going down as it does going up but that's always how it feels when you need to find a restroom. But luck is with me today and I make it home before nature calls. I hate to leave anything behind, except footprints, whenever possible.

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