Monday, May 2, 2016

49 Palms Oasis Trail-A Triathlete's Delight

So, if you're one of those... you park your car, run up the stairs to the top of the ridge, cruise along the top looking down in to the bowl of the valley below, past the Red Barrel patch, and then you begin the long descent down in to the valley where the Palms Oasis is located. After a brief rest, you turn around and run back up, through the rocks, up the other set up stairs, cruise the ridge and then down again to the parking lot. However, if you're like me, you did all this at an 'amble', enjoying the workout of the 'up and down', but mostly the views, the Red Barrels and the shapely rocks along the way. The Oasis is the topper. There in the shade, you can rest, find a place to have lunch and then leisurely head back up the hill. The best time to go is early morning or at the beginning of Spring, just after the rains. There's usually an abundance of flowers of all kinds along the trail. This day, everything seemed to be spent, but it was still a nice hike. Try it sometime.

The Stairs Up

Red Barrel Patch

The Long Way Down

Palms In The Distance Seen From The Rocks

Approaching The Palms

The Oasis

The Stairs On The Return
Shapely Rocks Along The Way

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Year of the Mallow

We were biking on the road up to Keys View the other morning and I noticed that the area between Cap Rock and Juniper Flats was chock full of Mallow, meadows of Mallow. Usually, you see Mallow by the side of the road, but this was the first time I had seen it spread deep inland. So, I came back the next morning, parked at Juniper Flats and walked through the meadows toward Cap Rock. What a treat, it was like being in Monet's painting 'Field of Red Poppies', but Mallow. I spent a couple of hours wandering about, crawling around on my hands and knees and gradually going blind with color because there was just too much to see. Take a little walk there the next time you're in Joshua Tree National Park. You'll be charmed.


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Recent Rains Have Made For Some Fantastic Cloud Displays

After our driveway disappeared, once again, with the recent heavy rains... I decided to take a drive through Joshua Tree National Park and do a little 'Cloud Chasing'. It turned out to be a good day indeed.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Taking the Yucca Trail at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

We got a fresh perspective on Big Morongo Canyon Preserve the other morning, from up high. You start by taking the Desert Willow Trail and about half way around, you branch off and proceed up the hill following the Yucca Trail. It climbs up to the top of the hills where you get a nice look over the entire Preserve. There were flowers blooming along the path, with more to come. At one point, you come to an overlook which looks down to the Mesquite Trail, then you turn and start your downward descent through a small canyon and end up on the Mesquite Trail by the marsh. We continued around and headed over to Covington Park and then back to the car. It was a really nice 2 hour walk before breakfast. A great way to start the day. If you don't feel like going home for breakfast, you can always stop in at the Morongo Cafe for a hearty breakfast. You might see Dee and some 'birders' there too.

Cottonwoods View

Mesquite View

Heading Down

Cross Cut

Boardwalk over the Marsh

San Gorgonio View

Looking Back at the Preserve

Monday, March 21, 2016

Quail Springs a Great Place to Explore

We always park at the Quail Springs Picnic Area and head west towards the rock formations in the distance. Sometimes we go left toward the 'Cliffs of Dover', but this time we headed toward a canyon to the right which looked interesting. On the way, you cross a bench of dunes which are now peppered with Sand Verbena, a beautiful sight. Before we got half way to the Canyon we heard many, little voices behind us on the trail. When we turned around, there were about 20 kids being led on a hike to the same canyon we were headed, so we veered off to the right and up the hill, where we found an old mining road which went up and around the back of the rocky hills we were interested in exploring. This turned out to be a good decision, because it made the approach easier and more leisurely and you get wonderful views of the entire area. Once up on top we found a nice niche in the rocks for lunch, again with great views in either direction. Then we wandered down the other side  into an incredible patch of red barrel cactus. We could see the kids in the distance disappearing over a distant hill. Finally, we made our way down to a wash which led back through the canyon we were originally interested in exploring. We did it in reverse order but was just as fun. As we got back down to the trail, there were the kids again, trooping along and exploring some rocks to the south. They must have slept well that night, because we sure did.