Sunday, April 29, 2012
Photo Hiking Palm Canyon
The day was crisp as we exited the RV, donned in our finest hiking apparel, which for today's hike, consisted of shorts, a short sleeve cotton shirt, hiking boots, hat, and the ever present Camel water pack. Whenever we photo hike (nature hike knowing one is going to indulge in photography), we carry plenty of water, high energy snacks (trail mix, jerky, etc.), emergency weather blanket (the silvery type which folds up to the size of a deck of cards), small first aid kit (again the size of deck of cards), and whatever else we feel might prepare us for any emergency might befall us depending the time of year and the nature of the terrain.
In Borrego Springs, the morning may start as crisp and cool, but by nine a.m. near the end of March, the temperature will surely be nearing 90+ degrees Fahrenheit. Plenty of water, a comfortable wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are a must if you want to truly enjoy the path you will be taking in the desert.
The trail started from the main campground in the State Park for about one half mile to the trail head near the group camping west of the entrance and proceeded for another 1.5 miles across a sandy rocky path well designated by the park service. The hike itself is not hard but given the rising temperature and numerous boulders a person had to traverse at various times we would register the trail as moderately easy especially when a person with physical disabilities may not be able to make it up through the narrowing canyon to the Palm Grove at the end of the trail.
Sand turned into pebbles which turned into rock strewn ground which turned into large rocks and boulders marking the hiking path with little if any shade. By ten in the morning the temperature was nearing the low eighties and having the Camel water pack was a necessity.
A moment divergence as we mention the number of ‘idiots’ out for the hike this particular morning. Not saying hiking this trail was idiotic but just the opposite since there is nothing like enjoying nature as we did along the Palm Canyon Grove path but it is the way people approached the journey that intrigued and confused the J & L partners.
More than once we saw people, grown adults, walking by us with no containers of water, no hats, no sunglasses, but many had their tunes pounding through their earbuds. One obvious neophyte wearing flip-flops (which will only cause this wanna-be hiker to end up with bruised soles and aching toes). Many of these so-called hikers beginning the trail as we returned and the day began to reach its fullness of heat. One woman was dressed as if she were going to the ‘Mall’ for a shopping outing instead of a three mile hike in the middle of the desert including tight black spandex pants, baggy shirt, sweater cutely wrapped around her waist, and pumps. Quite the fashion plate but again no water, hat (probably would undo her "do"), or sunglasses. Laureen and I ended up making up a game between the two of us wagering how many people we passed on the trail who would not make it to the grove – our best guesstimate was 60%. One particular group we realized had no clue what they were doing asked us as we were on the return trip (five people huffing and puffing with no water, hats, sunglasses) how far was the palm grove from where they were standing. They had walked approximately a quarter of a mile over flat even sand and had not entered any of the switch backs covered with rocks and stones. They probably turned back as soon as we were out of sight.
Back to the trail and the wonderful photographs we took of the rock formations, vistas of the valley floor, views of the canyon and all it had to offer two inquisitive visitors to the state park. The constant buzzing of thousands of bees swirled in the air above us as we made our way across the countryside between tall green bushes nearing the palm grove. To our excitement a small but sizable water fall greeted the traveler at the mile and a quarter mark which then introduced us to a viable stream of clean water flowing from the grove which was in the near proximity.
Entering the palm grove at the end of the trail brought a delight of cool shaded air, first time out of the sun in over an hour, and a well deserved rest sitting upon a fallen giant of a palm tree. Listening to the running water from the springs which form the life saving creeks and waterfalls was comforting and added to the serenity of the grove.
After a ten minute rest we headed back the way we came and made good time down the path and knew it had been a good day in the hinterlands of Borrego Springs and the Palm Canyon hike.
We would definitely return in the future and highly recommend this nature trail for all those interested in getting up close with the natural world.