Thursday, January 6, 2011

Palm Canyon Trail

IMG_1099 IMG_1102 What we thought would be an easy three-mile hike today turned out to be a challenging, exciting rocky climb to an oasis in the desert.  The oasis was a large stand of California palms and it provided a cool and green reprieve from the rocky desert and the warm day.

But it was not the only point of interest on our hike.

IMG_1089  Peninsular bighorn sheep.  All the literature and the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center described their endangered status and how camouflaged they are in the desert.  Few hikers are able to see them.  Lucky us!  Two large sheep came prancing down the trail as if to greet us to the oasis—one strolled right on by and the other sprinted up a sheer rock to walk around us.  We both eyed the rock more closely after he left still not believing he could climb anything so steep.IMG_1086

IMG_1080 The springs providing the water for the palm trees appears suddenly from the ground as a gushing waterfall at the oasis and continues down the canyon for a ways and then disappears into the ground.  In fact, the water we saw on the way up (see picture) was gone by the time we passed it on our way back to the trail head.  During a rain storm this trail is not where you want to be.  A cloudburst on the mountain brings a torrent of water through the stream bed.

IMG_1104IMG_1107The picture to the right shows part of the trail going under some big boulders.  Another place you do not want to be during one of the earthquakes they have in the area on an almost daily basis.

A great hike.  A great day.

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