Wednesday, January 31, 2018

La Quinta CA January 31, 2018 Date with the Desert

In my past visits to Joshua Tree National Park I have completed two hikes, today was my third and by a long shot today's hike to Willow Hole was my favourite.  Along this trail you are surrounded by hundreds of Joshua trees.  They line the trail and they cover the landscape for as far as you can see.  This part of this Park is what this Park is all about for me.  I was at the trail head by 8:15 sharing the lot with three other vehicles.  As it turns out they spent the night out in the Park watching the moon and I met them as they were retuning to their vehicles.  Right away you are immersed in the trees as you begin hiking.

Once again like every other day San Gorgonio Peak comes into view.  It is the highest peak in SoCal.  Now I get to see it in the same frame with a Joshua tree. 
Joshua Tree National Park is also a boulderers' paradise.  There are many forks off the main trail that lead to named bouldering sections.  

It was slow going for me along here.  The trees captured my full attention.  You can see the long line of boulders ahead and that is where I am headed.
I don't boulder but I can get up onto the easy ones.  At this point the trail becomes a wash and leads into a canyon where it meanders for quite some time.  It was easy to follow.

A couple of times the canyon opens up into a little amphitheater type thing which you pass through then it closes up again.  
After all my dilly-dallying along, a group of hikers caught up to me and I joined with them for the last few minutes to Willow Hole.  The pool of water was frozen and that was something to see in the desert.  With the light and the angle it was hard to capture but I got a piece of it.
 We worked our way back to an opening with loads of boulder seats.  We snacked and then I went on my way back while they stuck around for awhile longer.  The clouds developed nicely and the hike back was just as captivating. 

Between the trees, the boulders, the clouds and the shadows, it took me forever to complete this hike.  I did realize how fortunate I was to be having such a gorgeous day here so I made sure to appreciate that.

When I arrived back at my car I debated about checking out another trail.  I himmed and hawwwd but then decided I experienced enough heat and sun today and what I did already see far exceeded what I hoped today would be like.  It would be best that I get back to my home away from home and enjoy a beer on my balcony so that is exactly what I did.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

La Quinta CA January 30, 2018 Date with the Desert

It's go time, up into those Santa Rosa Mountains.   After eyeing them once again at breakfast time, I then got ready and hit the road for the mere 6 minute drive from my home away from home to the trail head for Boo Hoff Point.  

The very early start afforded me the most magnificent lighting and a somewhat cooler temperature.  The first portion is along a wash and there we go again working those leg muscles to get through that stuff.

After the washes and the intersections, the true Boo Hoff climb begins.   The scenery is impressive.  There are switchbacks, narrow trails along edges, cactus after cactus of all kinds.

I met a biker on his way down and a runner going up who was carrying on doing a long loop.  I arrived at the summit and I owned it.  I could see San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, the Sultan Sea and all of Cochella Valley.  They said today would be cloudy, I will take this cloudiness any day.  It was such a pleasure to be up here, how lucky I am.

I soaked in the scenery for some time and savoured some snacks then it was time to saunter on back down.  For the entire descent there was not a single second where there was not something incredible to admire.



Eventually I made it back down to the wash.  I heard voices and when I looked up to a ridge and I just smiled.  How perfect!  We waved to each other then carried on our way.
The wash seemed easier on the way out.  I soon saw the ending and made my way there.
There was something special about today's date and I am not sure what that is!  I know I could not have asked for it to be any different than it was.  


Monday, January 29, 2018

La Quinta CA January 29, 2018 Date with the Desert

Today's date is with Big Morongo Canyon Preserve in San Bernardino County and this Preserve transitions from the Mojave to the Sonoran deserts.  With another hot day forecasted, I went for the early start heading down I-10 to 62 to Yucca Valley.  I arrived at the parking lot and oh how pretty it was.
With a plan in place I headed counterclockwise and hit the Desert Willow Trail first. I knew right away this was going to be a great scenery day with the way the clouds were shaping up and the sky being that desert shade of blue.
After crossing a bridge I veered left and began the gentle climb up to Yucca Ridge Trail where I could see forever.  I could see Morongo Valley down below and I could see San Gorgonio Peak off in the distance.  That Peak stood out all day yesterday.  Now I could also see the San Bernardino Mountains around me.

After descending off the Ridge I was not near ready to go for the Loop so descended down then down again then down a little more into the Big Morongo Canyon itself.


It was very pretty down here and peaceful.  I did pay attention to the fact I would need to be climbing back up out of here.  I gave myself a turn around distance and carried on a bit further.
My gps said it was time to turn back so I obeyed and took my time with the climb.  I kept looking back down into the canyon to see all the colours and layers of mountains.

Once up out of the canyon I now went for the loop which began with the West Canyon Trail, Mesquite Trail and finally the Marsh Trail.

I passed back through the fence then found a picnic table in the shade to relax a bit and have a light lunch before driving back to La Quinta.  
The area where my home away from home is located is quite pretty.  It is a couple of minutes of walking to a local market and to a park.  The avenidas are colourful and clean and manicured.   


After a full day it's back to the drawing board to set up tomorrow's date.  There are so many available it is hard to choose.  From my experience already, you can't go wrong any which way you go.