Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rock Me Gently


Today I only had a few things I was looking for in my hike. It had to be flat, close to home in the shade. After climbing some steep stuff the past few days I figured I needed a break. I was also going to take the dog.

I headed up to the Fred Wolff Bear Creek Nature Preserve and went west. The Preserve is certainly flat but there's not a lot there to see.

West of the Preserve, however, is a large alluvial fan that comes down from the steep canyons near Indio Mountain. I find a trail here.

As the trail grows more faint, I find several of these rock piles to follow and stay on course.

There is a good chance that these are ancient Indian markers, at least some of them. The Cahuilla had a village site here in La Quinta and hunted and gathered all throughout these hills. According to various BLM reports, this area is high in potential "cultural resources".

I also come upon this little rock circle. This may or may not be a "cultural resource" but it seems like something interesting to me.

The trail becomes less distinct but there are a couple of these rock piles to guide me in the right direction. You have to look close to see them.

I quickly get to a place where I completely lose the trail. I could go back and try to locate it again but I don't have time so I just keep moving on.

Looking ahead I see some deep canyons but I really do not have time to explore them and won't until after summer is over. There may be several hours or days of exploration up here and who knows what I might find. The Cahuilla Indians called the area around Indio Mountain something like "No passageway" since there was no trail that led over the mountain ridge at this point. Ironically, the BLM is considering putting a trail in this area to connect Palm Desert and La Quinta although, in my opinion, there are better alternatives where trails already exist. Why an Indian trail reaches into this area is something to ponder. My guess is it's a hunting trail. If there was no passageway, then animals could be cornered and killed. I've seen a hunting blind on top of Indio Mountain and I suspect there may be one to two higher up in the canyon.

I move over to a big drainage in hope of finding a sandy wash I can follow back but I am met with this. I think I'll just have to go back the way I came.

While it's not really flat, it is certainly not steep. But I do not want to hike down this in the dark without a flashlight (or with one, to tell the truth) and so end my exploration here. I'll add to my list this as a place to explore further when the weather becomes conducive to it. You never know what you might find out here even if it's on a gentle slope full of rocks.f

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