Saturday, November 14, 2009

Downhill All The Way


I have so many plans I could fill ten lifetimes but since I only have one I have to prioritize. Since my kids are not yet of an age where they can be left alone for any length of time I have to either wait until the wife gets home or take them along with me on my hikes. Since I like to enjoy my hikes I usually wait until the wife gets home from work. That's what I did today.

I wanted to go up to Joshua Tree but the kids wouldn't budge. They look forward to Saturday as a day to play with their neighborhood buddies and I hate to take that away from them. Then I thought about going to Palm Springs and looking for a good starting point to get on the mythical Gordon Trail from the 1930s. But that would take too much work and I'm saving myself for Tuesday.

So I decided to hike from the La Quinta Cove to Lake Cahuilla. I've done this hike a couple of times in the other direction but never in this direction. I had the wife drop me off at the trailhead and off I went.

At the trailhead there were a group of hikers just finishing up from their day on the trail. The temperature is once again perfect and it feels good to be outside, especially after a day with my boys. It feels like freedom.

There's one little uphill section on this trip and it's not too long. Like many experienced hikers I greatly prefer hiking uphill hiking to downhill but it's nice to change it up sometimes.

While a lot of the trail is downhill, that doesn't make it easy. Erosion has caused the trail to become very rough and rocky. It's not easy to negotiate and it requires intense concentration not to fall. Going uphill doesn't usually require me to watch my step as diligently; maybe that's why I like it better. Also, gaining elevation is better to me than losing it.

After dropping off the ridge it's a long walk in a sandy wash to Lake Cahuilla. I think walking downhill in sand is even harder than going uphill. At least this afternoon it is.

I get to Lake Cahuilla just as the wife is pulling up to get me and take me home. It's always great to get out on a hike, even a short one just to stretch your legs but I think that next time I'll go uphill instead. Being a climber is so much better than being a loser.

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