Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mountain Lion Oasis



Driving east from Palm Springs on Ramon Road, you pass through the mostly Mexican town of Cathedral City followed by a small village adjoining a country club called Thousand Palms.



Just past the town are the Indio Hills along with a huge, free-of-charge wilderness park called the Coachella Valley Preserve.



There is a cute little Visitors' Center at the Thousand Palms oasis...



...that features terrifying signage for cowards like myself...



...along with tips for surviving a mountain lion attack.



The McCallum trail starts off through the Thousand Palms oasis...



...with its shaggy Desert Fan Palms...



...rising out of an ancient bog...



...created by the San Andreas fault.



We wandered further along the trail, directly above the fault line...



...passing large animal droppings which I feared belonged to mountain lions ready to attack.



A mile further is the McCallum Grove...



...which rests around a pond...



...teeming with plant life...



...and animal life, too, though I didn't want to think about that.



The place felt like the Sequoia National Forest of Date Fan Palms...



...with its corresponding holiness.



We drove back west to Palm Springs...



...with Mount San Jacinto looking more and more like the Coachella Valley's version of Mount Fuji.

7 comments:

cookiecrumb said...

Wow. Great photos. The lighting conditions make some of them look like museum dioramas. (Which is weird, because I keep thinking "Look, you're walking through places that look fake!" But they're realer than real.)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic pictures. Now I'm homesick. (I lived in Cathedral City when I was in 2nd and the first half of 3rd grade. Running up and down those hills, building rock forts, and catching snakes and lizards were the best of times.)

Mike Harvey said...

Michael

That first photo is very beautiful. You're getting better and better and it makes me so jealous I'm going outside with my camera right now.

sfmike said...

Dear cookiecrumb: It is odd and interesting when the "real" world looks like the most stage-managed of dioramas. As the Cathedral City painter Agnes Pelton (1881-1961) supposedly said on her deathbed, "Life is really all light, you know."

Dear Daniel: I presume you weren't the scaredy cat in the Indio Hills that I was, since you were building forts and capturing snakes. I'm going to be writing to you to buy a CD of your music, by the way.

Dear Michael: It was your beloved old Sony digital camera with the big phallic lens that took these pictures. Thanks for both the camera and the jealousy.

p said...

sf boy, great pics...good to hear that you're having fun and enjoying life.
merry xmas
p

Anonymous said...

oh my god what a beautiful place. what beautiful pictures.

you are MUCH more at risk for being run over by a car crossing the street in front of your house, you know of course, than even SEEING a mountain lion, much less losing limb or life to one. or maybe even being flattened by an acme safe dropping from a fifth story window, as you walk down the sidewalk. (you will sink into the sidewalk, both eyes will turn to x's then a moment later you'll bound up and be good as new!)

those kiddy art banners are brilliant. lots of love and christmas to you and t from me,
e

janinsanfran said...

I'm reading your second half of December posts backward. That's the place we hiked that I referred to in answer to your 12/24 post.

We got up on the ridge above the valley -- it was a little frightening. I could imagine a storm coming up and getting lost forever in the desert with every rock and hillock looking very much the same.