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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Monday, 31 Oct 2011

Location: Palm Springs California, USA

MapWell, here I am in lovely warm Palm Springs! I'm in a motel on the edge of the town, which is very reasonably priced. It has a swimming pool, which I was in yesterday evening, a veranda and a view of the mountains.
After a whole day driving on Friday I finally got to Joshua Tree NP and stayed in Twenty Nine Palms, just outside the park. On the way I drove along Interstate 10 - the same road I was on in Houston weeks ago - that felt very weird!
Joshua Tree was different again to anywhere I'd been. It is actually in 2 deserts and you can see the interface between them. The Joshua Trees only grow in the Mojave Desert. They are very spectacular, as is the scenery. In the Colorado desert I saw a "garden" of Cholla cacti - in an amazing setting. I only did some short hikes in the park - the longest was only 3.8 miles to the top of Ryan Mountain which had some spectacular views. There were also short hikes around granite tors, where there was more vegetation and lots of people rock climbing and bouldering.
Another highlight for me was looking from a viewpoint to see the San Andreas Fault. The earth hasn't moved for me yet though!!
Yesterday I drove to Palm Springs. This is lower than Joshua Tree, so is very hot - it was 33C yesterday! I went on a ranger led walk up Tahquitz Canyon, which was very interesting. He told us a lot about the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians who lived there for centuries, including the various plants they used for survival. While on the walk we saw humming birds and a baby rattlesnake! And on the way there and back I nearly ran over a road runner, running across the road. Later on in the afternoon I went to Andreas Canyon - another Indian settlement which was also an oasis. Again, this was totally different to anywhere I'd been before.
So today I'm planning to go up the Aerial Tramway onto Mount Jacinta, and am hoping to hike to the summit (just over 3000m) in a last attempt to get a metabolic boost from the altitude before the next month living a sedentary life in the cities. Hopefully I'll get a chance to update this again before I go to LA tomorrow.