I’m way behind! I love writing this blog. And I also love actually doing the stuff that I’m writing about. I’ve been so busy with the doing that I haven’t had time for the writing. That’s all. Thanks to some bad weather I’m actually able to do some writing. It’s raining and it’s windy. I realize that those of you who are living in areas where snow and icy conditions prevail may find this silly. I agree. I think it is really quite nice here. And the desert is turning very green. We are stocking in anticipation of being sequestered when the valley is invaded by thousands of visitors to see the Super Bloom that may arrive in a month or so.
Anyway, I want to tell you about a hike that we did back in early January. It was a coolish day in the desert-a great time for a hike. Hiking on days that are cool means you don’t have to worry quite so much about this problem:
We decided to hike up Hell Hole Canyon with a group of friends. The hike starts about a mile from our trailer door on the desert bajada just west of the Park visitor center and the more popular Palm Canyon hike. Over the first one to two miles there are lots of Ocotillo and creosote, the typical flora for this area. It’s a gentle, well marked uphill trail and quite easy.
As the canyon walls close in, the terrain changes and the nice easy trail disappears, replaced by boulders. There are three oases and at the third there’s a waterfall with ferns-so says the guidebook and people who’ve been there. I’ve hiked here before but never made it past the first oasis.
We all really wanted to make it to the third oasis because of the waterfall/ ferns. As it got harder and harder I was able to keep walking with that simple little method of focusing on each step individually. I think it’s a great metaphor for life. There’s always challenges and we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Every time I thought about stopping I just focused on that particular step. Quite meditative, it was. “One step at a time. There’s nothing else, just this moment, this step.”
Layne, Stephanie, and I all had our moments when we thought that we might just call it a good day. Tom and Jonathan did a lot of scouting for best routes. There was one particular spot where we stopped to rest on a big boulder in the sun and I seriously wondered why I needed to go anywhere else.
But there’s so much to see along the trail.
Birds: on this hike we saw an Oriole and we always hope to see Phainopepla. (Didn’t see one this day.)
Keep your eyes open for Borrego. That’s the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep. (Didn’t see one of these either.)
We never really had any kind of time limit other than knowing that in January it gets pretty dark and cold in these canyons by about 4:30 in the afternoon. That allowed us to just keep pulling up over the rocks, stretching to climb, crossing little rivulets of water. And finally we arrived at the third oasis and sure enough, there was a small waterfall with ferns growing all around it.
The wind is gusting up to about 40 mph and it’s raining intermittently so more inside activities. I’m sending this out and then I’ll start on the next post. Coming up next: Mexico.