Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Palm Springs, CA - Grinding Up & Bumping Down

If you thought that title referred to a hike, you’d be on the money. It’s about time we did some hill work, since we spent the last week or so in Mesa on a house that we didn’t get. What a waste of time. This is a quintessential Palm Springs hike, the one the locals run to get their daily exercise. Gary and I are lucky to slog up. We step aside - let them run, and wave at them as they whoosh by.

OK, we began the day at Panera. I had a free $10 gift card that came via another gift card I bought as a - would you believe - a Christmas gift. Ummm, nothing like starting the day with an unending cup of coffee and a bear claw. But, as do all good things, this had to come to an end and we had to toodle over to hike. This is called the Bump and Grind trail and, if you go to the right, it’s a long slow grind to the top with lots of switchbacks. Go up the left side and it’s almost straight up the hill, a real huffer. We’ve done both so - we will not make the mistake of taking the left again.

We changed from Panera clothes into hiking clothes. Oh, shucks, I forgot the camera and some protein bars. I’m really out of shape. Gotta remember all the little hiking details. Then I forgot to put on my dark glasses. Darn, it’s been too long since our last hike.

A long slow grind.
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But with great views as you plod higher. Out over the Coachella Valley with Joshua Tree NP mountains looming in the background or up towards the San Jacinto Mts in the other direction.
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I mean, can the views get any better? That’s Mt. San Jacinto, covered in snow, in the far background.
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Here’s where we met another couple grinding their way up. He is 76. If we thought we’d be able to stop hiking this year because we’re too old, he’s set the bar much higher. OMG, we’ve got to hike 6 more years. They’ve been coming to this area from Michigan for 20 years and have also taken some of the other trails we’ve taken.

The trail has several ‘pull outs’ where we can stop, rest and enjoy the view.
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Near the top is this gate. On the other side is a trail that continues on to the top of the mountain, to our left is the trail that continues down the mountain back to our car. We’ve always stopped at this gate because the area is closed in January so the bighorn sheep can birth their young. This is a picture from 2016 and you can see the non-readers in the crowd. They obviously walked right by the sign. Some even take their dogs past the sign which is a huge NO - NO since then the young bighorn sheep get used to dogs and when a coyote comes near, forget that a coyote is their enemy.
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This year the gate is open and we can continue grinding on to the top. Oh, shucks. I’m wondering if this is bad news: that so many others have gone around this gate (and we’ve seen lots do this) and scared off the big horn sheep or that the birthing is over for the season. I tend to think the former but will ask a ranger at the VC if I see one. However, this year it is open and we continue to the top.
What a great view from the top. And, soon, the other couple get here too.

We hear a guy yelling down the hill; ‘only 25 seconds left, you can do it’, and ‘just a little bit more, dig in’, and ‘only 15 seconds - come on, faster’ and finally, ‘just 10 seconds and you can step it up’. That’s what I want, a husband for a coach. If that were me, I’d get to the top and put the duct tape I’d carried to the top over his mouth. On the way down, she told us that ‘HE seems to think I need to better my time every time I run up here.’ Emphasis on the ‘HE’.

Looks like someone had some extra time at the top.
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Now, it’s time for the plummet down the ‘bump’ part of the trail. Much shorter and much steeper than the ‘grind’. Great on the knees. Lots of steep switchbacks. We meet lots of others who are huffing up this side of the trail. Every the young ones stop to ‘view the scenery’ or, actually, to catch their breath. Hmmm, I’m looking back up the trail at where we started down and you can see this this is much steeper than the uphill grind.
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Ah, at the bottom again. Great hike.

Oh the way home, we tried to find a new pair of shoes for both of us at Dick’s. We both struck out. I found a pair that I liked but needed a size - well, never mind. I looked and looked through 3 shelves, 2 boxes deep and never found a pair in my size. Oh, shucks. That means I’ll have to go shopping again. And, you know, that’s not my favorite thing to do.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Quartzsite, AZ - Out on the Desert

Time to head out towards Palm Springs. We plan to stop in Quartzsite tonight and on to Palm Springs tomorrow. It rained a good part of last night and when we got up, it was still raining. I checked the radar and saw that there was a small hole in the rain coming up so we got ready to go. We also ran over to say good-bye to several neighbors since we won’t see them until the end of Feb when we return to close on the house we bought.

The rain hole came, we moved to an area where we could hook-up, ate breakfast and headed out. The traffic was lighter than a weekday on the road but the road was still crowded. We only had a few hours to drive and it went fast. Soon we were at Quartzsite for the night. We found a place out on the desert to camp, put out one slide, had lunch and took a walk into town.
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We will be back here for the RV show in 14 days but right now they are setting up for the rock and gem show which starts next Saturday. We stopped at several booths to see their merchandise.
We were told that many of the rocks come from Brazil.
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It never occurred to me that you could own a fossil yourself. I thought that all fossils were in museum. Shows how little I know. Here are some cool fossils. But, there is no place to display a fossil in an RV.
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OR - are these ‘made’ fossils? Check these out - all of them on the table are quite symmetrical, have the same 3 objects on them and have very regular lines going through them. Seems that they are almost too perfect.
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Or, am I too cynical?
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I liked this globe but it’s difficult to do the globe since it changes so quickly.
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I’m sure that there will be lots of rocks and gems here during the RV show so we’ll tour some more.
It had rained quite heavily here last night and there was still running water. There is a road running right through this wash, much of it is covered by water and sand now. We walked through this wash several years ago when it hadn’t rained for a while. Note how the water is running over the road and how the brown water to the right has found its own channel and is rushing through it.
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We saw this U-Haul truck and learned a bit about geography. We love the read the U-Haul trucks.
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We found another type of sale around the corner. At first we wondered where they found all these skulls. Did some one wander the desert and found them that way? Or did some rancher had a bad year? Probably neither - these are probably from the beef packing plants where they slaughter cattle for sale. Not only do they sell the meat but they sell the skulls also. Then someone puts them out in their backyard to weather and then to the shows for sales to customers.
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Back at our campground we found this campsite. No RV near it but two fold-up lawn chairs were near a campfire ring. Someone must be planning on returning with their RV soon.
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And, we found this cool little house with a porch on the side. I don’t know why this picture is blurry. I must have had too much Coke to drink.
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Time for dinner. It sure gets dark out here. No street lights and no stores. Perfect. Lots of stars.