Thursday, October 26, 2006

Palm Springs Wednesday 1: Take A Hike



The San Jacinto Mountains are in our backyard in Palm Springs, so it seemed time to take a hike...



...skirting Tahquitz Canyon, which is sacred to the local Cahuilla Indians, and is off-limits unless you take an organized tour.



Both my Partner Domestique Tony and myself are frightened novices at nature trail hiking...



...particularly in scary desert mountain terrain with its unstable, rocky soil and range of threatening creatures, from rattlesnakes to mountain lions.



So we bought Philip Ferranti's well-done guidebook, "120 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs"...



...with its many safety tips that starts with this warning: "Desert hiking requires more safety than a casual walk along a national park trail. Water is essential to survival, and no hiker knows what events wait on the trail."



Further on, Philip assures that "Wild animals present little hazard. Snakebites are best avoided by looking carefully around whenever you intend to sit, rest or eat, and be sure not to put your hand under logs, rocks, and bushes. Wearing long pants is another protection against snakebites; despite hitting you in a strike, the snake may be unable to get enough clean leverage and angle to pierce your pant material. Mountain lians have been observed...but traveling in numbers almost ensures that no harm will befall you."



It's the "almost" in that last sentence that's the real kicker.



Still, we followed Philip's advice and carried lots of water and slathered on lots of sunscreen and even bought hiking boots for the occasion.



Plus, it was fun seeing where we lived from the mountains...



...and being able to say, "hey, there's your swimming pool, Tony."



We managed to hike quite a bit higher and further...



...than we ever anticipated...



...passing a small rock outcropping with a memorial plaque...



...that may have been illegal but was utterly charming.



We were feeling so confident that even the noonday October sun didn't seem to be phasing us too much...



...until I noticed my watch was feeling tight on my wrist because my forearms were having some kind of allergic reaction to the sun, swelling up enormously.



"We better get down this mountain fast," I told Tony while putting my arms inside of my T-shirt.



Disaster was avoided, the pool never felt so good on our return, and our next attempt at San Jacinto will include long-sleeved shirts.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear sf mike that never replies to my emails, I'm so fucking jealous....you left foggy SF for good?
txau
papa P

sfmike said...

Nah, I'm back in November.

greg said...

what wonderful photos!

I spent a lot of time in the Palm Springs area working on an indie film out there and I grew to like it quite a bit.

Although sometimes I felt like I was on Mars or something when I'd look up from cafe and see those mountains. Damn that's one hot desert.

You can see the film webiste at www.fourweekfourhours.com .