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.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Trip to Cottonwood To See What's Blooming

We'd heard the flowers had started down at Cottonwood, so we drove down the other day to check out the blooms. We went all the way down to the '10' then worked our way back, stopping in one of the side canyons to explore and have lunch. There are flowers everywhere, not huge yet, but every time you step out of the car, you'll find flowers under foot. We just need a little more heat to really get things going, but I think it's going to be a very nice Spring.

Brittle Bush


Smoke Tree

Red Barrel Cactus


Yucca Bloom