So far the el nino predictions have rung true. Southwestern Utah snowpack is well above normal. This is good for the local communities because we really need the water.
But after endless snow during the holidays and a week when the temperatures bounced between a frigid 3 degrees and a "balmy" 28 degrees, we had had enough. It was time to head downhill to the desert.
I've been e-scouting Palm Springs in southern California for years. Mostly known for its countless golf courses and as the place for celebrities to buy second homes, Palm Springs has a surprisingly amazing hiking scene.
And like any good desert, there are otherworldly oddities like an accidentally created lake lying below sea level, and a hand-crafted technicolor mountain dedicated to Jesus. Yep, only in the desert.
Here are the highlights of our quick trip to Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley, the basement of the Sonoran Desert:
|The oasis at Andreas Canyon is fed by a small stream originating high in the San Jacinto range.|
|Lone palm against gneiss in Andreas Canyon.|
|One of the largest palm forests in California, Palm Canyon was the perfect setting for lunch.|
|Zoe enters the oasis at Palm Canyon.|
|Into the narrows of Painted Canyon.|
|Ren makes his way down the first of many ladders in Ladder Canyon--an exciting tributary to Painted Canyon.|
|Sunlight reaches the floor of the Ladder Canyon slot.|
|Ladder Canyon is cut into conglomerate of the Palm Springs Formation. Deposited as part of the ancestral Colorado River delta some 700,000 years ago, the conglomerated has since been pressed upward by various strands of the San Andreas fault system.|
|Exploring Mecca Hills badlands.|
|Ren leads the way through Ladder Canyon.|
|1905 photo of levee breach that shifted the Colorado River's flow into the Salton basin. Photo from saltonseamuseum.org.|
|Hundreds of dead fish dot the shores of North Beach. The kids about gagged when I told them the pretty white "sand" along the beach is actually worn-down bits of bone from 1000s of dead tilapia.|
|The detectorist. The North Shore Beach and Yacht Club was a happening place in the late 50s and into the 60s. There's not much to see there today, although the yacht club has been recently restored and now houses a museum.|
|The recently restored North Shore and Yacht Club on the eastern shores of the Salton Sea.|
|The popular North Shore Beach and Yacht Club on the cover of L.A. Times Magazine in 1962. Photo from saltonseamuseum.org.|
|Rising water inundates facilities at North Shore Beach and Yacht Club. Photo from saltonseamuseum.org.|
|The ruins of Bombay Beach on the eastern shores of the Salton Sea.|
|View of Slab City from the top of Salvation Mountain.|
|Ava tries to make sense of the interior of Salvation Mountain.|
|The Jesus wagon at Salvation Mountain.|
Thanks C. Martin. If it weren't for the timely release of this video our trip to Salvation Mountain would have never happened.
|Salvation Mountain was a funky place with a cool vibe that we all enjoyed.|
Palm Springs is just what we needed. It was tough at the end of our stay to point the car back up the hill toward winter.
On our last day of the trip, I successfully conquered the much-feared Cactus to Clouds climb from downtown Palm Springs to 11,000-ft San Jacinto Peak. That post is next...