A few days ago I read Astridhr's post about hiking in Palm Springs, which is right around the corner from me. Her comment about how beautiful the desert is in the spring got me thinking that, seeing as how it's already April, I'd best get myself up into the hills sooner rather than later! So yesterday I set out from home to check out that trail I discovered a few weeks ago.
The trailhead itself is about a 25-minute walk from my front door. Oh, and this is for Astridhr: The house just down the street from me has sheep. Cute, fluffy black-faced sheep. I'd have gotten a photo, but I thought they were too far away to get a clear picture (they were in the field). Maybe next time.
So, as I mentioned last month, once you hit the trail you go through a ravine and then start climbing above the city. One thing I discovered (on my return) was that my camera phone does great with close-ups, but very poorly on scenic shots. It wasn't a very clear day, but you could see the top of Mt. Baldy from this view, which doesn't even show up in the photo. I tried to take a panoramic shot, but that didn't come out well at all. You couldn't appreciate the details of the hills in the distance.
In any case, it was a lovely day, and I was on the lookout for wildflowers as I wandered through the hill. There weren't too many, but there were a few California poppies in bloom.
So, after a short distance, I saw this iron structure on the hill:
Do you think this could be a snow barrier? I wonder.
After crossing a plateau, the trail came to a road. The trail made a sharp right and descended into the ravine. What to choose? Road goes up, trail goes down. Trail looks interesting, but today I feel like going Up. So I took the road.
One thing I observed on my hike was that, not unexpectedly, the properties get more and more opulent as you get up into the hills. This one even had a helipad. (I could see the "H" on that white circular area to the left of the photo; unfortunately, my camera phone didn't pick it up. I'll take the other camera next time.)
Saw some other pretty flowers as I reached the top.
Got a nice view of the valley on the other side of the ridge.
And, as a treat for reaching the top, I had a lovely view of Mt. San Jacinto, all covered with snow.
On the way back, I stopped where the road and the trail diverged. I hesitated, trying to decide whether to take the same route home, or take a chance that this trail loops back. I figured I had a pretty good chance of it looping back, and I was still feeling reasonably adventurous, so I headed down into the ravine. I'm glad I did; the trail was quite pretty.
It's interesting when you think a trail is going to go a certain direction, but you're not sure... You're watching the surrounding terrain, waiting to see if the ridge you're trying to reach comes down to join the path you're on... Fortunately, it did. The path in the ravine forked: to the left, it continued southward, and to the right, it climbed up to the ridge, which curved back to join the path I'd started on.
All in all, the hike was 5 miles round trip, with a 920' gain. (Do you realize Google Maps has a terrain setting with elevation lines? Very cool.)
Today was a spectacularly gorgeous day. I discovered that the local ranger station is just 6 miles from my front door. I went and bought a trail map to the San Gorgonio Wilderness area, and you can be sure that I will be planning more hikes in the near future.