Friday, February 27, 2009

Tourist Town

Day Fifty Eight

There are certain hiking related injuries that are common to people who hike a lot: sprained ankles, sore knees, cuts and scratches and chafing. This morning I was suffering from chafing--oddly enough from my work uniform and not from hiking--so I decided to go on an easy hike, a tourist trail.

I've done most of the trails out here. Most of the hard ones, that is. What I've neglected over the years have been those easy trails of a couple of miles or less. I'm now learning what I've missed.

Today I went on the Randall Henderson Trail. This trail starts at the Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument Visitor's Center in south Palm Desert.

The Visitor's Center is right across Highway 74 from the Art Smith Trailhead

The trail starts by this highly reflective plaque with a wonderful quote from Randall Henderson, founder of Desert Magazine.

Dogs are not permitted on this trail, which is kind of ironic considering that the trail was constructed with dogs in mind. However, the Bighorn Institute, which is adjacent to the trail property, objected and so you now have to leave Fido at home.

The trail splits after a short while but it doesn't really matter which way you go because it is a loop.

The Chuparosa was everywhere along the trail in addition to about ten other flowers in various phases of blooming.

I saw these Desert Poppies.

Some Desert Chicory

Several cacti just budding and getting ready to blossom like this Hedgehog.

And this Beavertail.

Just before getting back to the Visitor's Center I spotted this lone cactus in bloom. It is the first cactus I have seen flowering so far this year although it is obvious there will be many, many more.

There is much to be said for this little mile and a half trail right off of Highway 74. Being that it's a tourist trail, I had the opportunity to hike with some tourists, a terrific couple from Minnesota and their friend, originally from Minnesota, who's from Palos Verdes. We talked about the plants, the weather, the desert and our appreciation for nature. They told me that they'd gone to Joshua Tree and the 1000 Palms Oasis.

It made me think of friends of mine who, growing up here their entire lives, have never been to those places. It never ceases to amaze me that people will travel thousands of miles to visit places that we take for granted. I realized that we'd all do well to be tourists in our own backyards a little more often. It might help us realize how lucky we are to be living in what Randall Henderson called, "The Real Desert".

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