Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Chloe Test

With a forecast looking like this....  
.....I decided to save being "out & about" until Sunday afternoon when the temperature and windchill for the weekend would be at its highest.  Goodness gracious, there's loads to be accomplished within the household, so a stay-at-home Saturday right now is ideal.   I put my mind to it, stayed focused and progress was made.  

Today was the day to test my new Chloes.  My Valdezs gave me three wonderful winters of wandering.  We shared many adventures and I knew they were nearing their end as they were tired looking and they felt tired. It was time to bid them adieu.  

As my old boots Valdez looked like a Valdez, these new boots do look like a Chloe.  They have a feminine touch and a soft side.  They are light weight, have a toggle pull, the grip is great....wait until you see the sole.       
I headed for Confluence Park at Nose Creek to test the boots.  
After two hours of wandering through the snow, along trails, up hills then down them, over bridges, in the trees, around boulders, over ice, I could not help but be happy.   My feet remained cozy warm, there were no irritations nor hot spots. Remember I said wait until you see the sole? 
See the sole?
The next test will be to strap my Lightning Axis to them.
 How will they pair together?  
My sense is they will be compatible.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Even though.......

.......still on track!

If you are loyal followers then you know I am a numbers girl, in the sense that I enjoy tracking the distance and elevation covered when I am "out & about".  Considering how this year played out beginning on Sunday of the May long weekend leading to many weekends of down time, I am still on track to equal or exceed the past years of kilometers of distance covered.  I sincerely doubt a large enough amount of elevation gain will happen to make a new record though.  I have not included my urban recovery distance covered in the above digits, that number was 79 kilometres. 

Now on the verge of December, with only four weekends left (one of which is already booked otherwise), plus a handful of vacation days to fill, there is great potential for setting a record.  Even though..... 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Bear Creek Canyon Oasis - Palm Springs Vacation Day 6

The hike into Bear Creek Canyon Oasis came recommended by my friend who hiked it last December.  He has a sense for what I like so I knew I could not go wrong here.  It also brought me into a different area to check out.  The trail head was only a 35 minute drive away. I was up early and raring to get going. It was easy to find as were all trail heads I hit.  I was prepared for the heat and would be going all the way today.

I arrived early to an absolutely gorgeous area, so pretty, so clean, just so appealing as a first impression.  I knew I was in for something special.  I did my homework on this route as there were postings that it could be a challenge to get on the correct trail. I made my way through the first section and found my way to the wash.  It was a long wash to follow to the other side where the ascending began.  I realize now how I enjoy washes!  They are so photogenic. 

The ascent began in the heat.  I took my time and made sure to appreciate every little thing especially once I got high and could see forever.  I was able to pick out places and identify them, finally, as my vacation was nearing the end.  I ascended, and ascended.  Higher and higher.  Then I rounded a corner and could see a green patch down below in the far off distance.  Ah, the oasis!  O.K. So I have to descend, ascend, then descend and ascend again. Fine, I came prepared.  The oasis was an oasis, like a hidden treasure.  I took a little time here then said goodbye.

I made my way back to a high point with a wide open view to have my lunch.  I lingered long.  I knew once I was back to my red Chevy that my vacation was over. So, I lingered again.  I knew once I was back to my red Chevy that it would be one more sleep then heading back to cold Calgary. So, I lingered again.  I knew once I was back to my red Chevy that it would be time to face reality again. So, I lingered again. You get my drift!  

I arrived back at the wash, meandered here, chatted with folks then aimed for the palm trees and my red Chevy.  I drove back to Palm Springs to where it felt like home to me and to be.  Thank you for your suggestion on this hike, it was a fine topping to top off this marvellous vacation.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Indian Canyons - Palm Springs Vacation Day 5

The Indian Canyons hiking location was ideal for today. I wanted an objective close to home but worlds away. With only a 12 minute drive and a $9.00 entry fee, this place was priceless. The entrance gate didn't open until 8:00 so I luxuriated in my suite a little longer this morning.  I have been thoroughly enjoying not knowing what is around each corner on these hikes here in Palm Springs and have been going in with eyes wide open.

I obtained a map of the trails then talked with the Ranger to get a suggestion on a route.  He suggested Palm Canyon Trail to Stone Pools then upon my return, veering off and incorporating Victor Trail which would be adding on a loop at the end.  This would probably be enough for a day in this part of the desert when the forecasted temperature is to be 100F (37.8C).  I could get in and out before that high temperature is reached.

I descended from the Trading Post to the valley bottom or I mean oasis.  At 8:30am it was sweltering and the shade from the large tightly packed Palm trees was glorious.  I was in awe having never seen such a spectacular sight.  I felt lost amongst these monsters!  I truly did, it was a bit of a challenge finding my way through this maze and out the other it.  Then it was time to head out into the unknown and explore.  The further I went, the hotter it became.  I wasn't quite keen on going too far so picked the 5km mark to be my turn around spot.  Even at that, the beauty already exceeded my expectations.  Upon my return, I took the suggested Victor Trail and it gave me more elevation, more views, more beauty.  

I completed this hike as the temperature gage read 91F.  They told me this was a cool winter day for this region.  I smiled!  I smiled lots today.  Looking around from the trail head, I saw many trails that headed off in different directions. There is so much exploring and discovering to do in this canyon and oasis.  Some day!

the beginning of a maze to maneuver through
coming out on the other side of the palm forest
true desert hiking conditions
along Victor Trail
Trading Post is that white speck in the centre
potential trail for another time 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tahquitz Peak, Idyllwild - Palm Springs Vacation Day 4

Idyllwild!  It doesn't take much to get my attention, this word alone did!  Idyllwild!  I even like saying it. Many recommended hikes originate in this area.  The Pacific Crest Trail even passes by.  The highway there is a scenic byway.  Those are enough reasons for me to make a day there happen.  I picked a peak to attack, Tahquitz Peak.  I bought my $5 Adventure Pass which is a requirement to have for this trail head.  I was excited for this day, so got a really early start.  The scenic byway was hair-raising & white-knuckling. NASCAR wanna-be drivers were on the road, terrorizing us tourists!  I safely made it to Idyllwild, picked up a permit which is another requirement needed for the trail itself. 

There are options for reaching this Peak and I picked the Devils Slide Trail as that sounded intriguing to me.  I really needed to be on that trail moving, releasing the stress built up from being on that scenic byway.  By the way, I did not see a single scenic scene, my eyes were on the road.  The trail was cool & quiet, with gentle switchbacks, making for a most pleasant experience.   Not a soul in sight.  I felt energized or maybe I was stress-revved, which worked in my favour for moving at a quicker ascending pace then I recently have been going at.  I hiked the Devils Slide route up to Saddle Junction then hit the Pacific Crest Trail and followed it. 

I eventfully arrived at the Lookout on Tahquitz Peak.  Not a soul in sight.  The Lookout was closed for the winter.  Being up there for lunch with the awesome scenery, I would liken it to fine dining.  The views were of the 360 degree kind.  Once all courses were complete, I cleansed my pallet, packed up and made my way back down.  Back at the Saddle was where I first encountered folks.  We exchanged pleasantries as we passed.  

I made it back to my red Chevy in good time.  With a plan in place of taking time to enjoy the scenic byway on the return trip, I began the drive back early enough to allow for that.  It was once again hair-raising & white-knuckling.  There was no enjoyment in this.  I kept my eyes on the road and let the NASCAR wanna-be drivers pass by.  It is what it is so I just wanted this section of road over with.   What I was enjoying was the desert breeze whipping through the downed windows.  

With about another 20 minutes of twists, turns, blind corners to go, the realization of the dangers on this road were brought to light.  With five vehicles in sight in front of me with the first heading into a blind corner, then hearing the ungodly sound of screeching tires and smashing like I have never heard before, we came to a complete halt. Unconsciously, I jumped out of my car and ran for the blind corner, as did the others.  I was sorry I did!  I tried to make sense of what I saw, but wasn't able to.  I heard someone say it's three vehicles,  then I could see that it was.  Others took control and made the call and did what else needed to be done.  I went back to my car and waited the two hours for all to be clear which was done by 5 fire trucks, 3 ambulances, 1 helicopter, a staging area, two long flat bed trucks and a couple dozen state troopers.

I finally arrived back at my suite, a little shaken, as the sun set on this day. I had to let the ending of this go and just remember Idyllwild.  You can add Tahquitz to that too.  Both of those words will hold this day's wonderful memories.