DAY THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX
There are some places that you visit which surprise you. You aren't really sure what to expect and they are better than you imagine. The Fortynine Palms Oasis is one of those places.
I'd never been to the oasis so it took a few wrong turns before I got to the trailhead but I got there. And I also know how NOT to get there.
It's nice to see some government stimulus money going to good use. Not only is there a nicely maintained trail to the oasis, I found three trails going there.
The main trail has lots of obvious improvements and is wide and well graded.
I was expecting this trail to be fairly flat and follow some canyon but it gains elevation right out of the parking lot and is up on a ridge. I wonder if there is a way to get to the oasis from the canyon below but that'll have to wait for another day.
From near the top of the trail you can look down and see some palms of the oasis below.
Now let's see: one, two, three, forty-nine.
The oasis is a cool place but the Park Service has certain restrictions on where you can visit. They say it's a sensitive biological area. Whatever. I think they just want to keep deadbeats from vandalizing the area so I guess it's OK.
With three trails leading into the oasis from just one direction I can imagine what other trails might head out from here in different directions.
There is water available on the surface and there are probably many other interesting little spots to discover but the Park Service greatly restricts your movement in the oasis. It's pretty crowded so I can understand why. I guess the place has gotten trashed in the past.
But despite the restrictions this is an enjoyable hike, suitable for almost all members of the family. It also has a lot of promise for further adventures. If three trails lead into this place from just one directions, who knows how many others lead out of here?