Thursday, August 5, 2010

The perfect antidote for the stresses of life, only 100 miles from Disneyland, the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

Three weeks in a row, on one of my days off I have jumped into the morongomobile
and driven about 100 miles up to the little village of Morongo Valley, my former home,
to find some solace among the towering cottonwoods and hillsides. Here is a video
where I invite tourists from the world over, to come on up.
either visit link above or click below

Last week, I went back up with the goal of walking back down the 2 miles or so
to the old, ancient, gnarled cottonwood tree along the trail about 1/2 the way to
Indian Avenue down at the desert floor. What a great walk down, hot but bearable,
almost too good to be true. I got lost off the trail once but since the canyon had
narrowed, it was easy to find the trail again.

I rested a few minutes there under Senor Cottonwood, a breeze came up, rattling
the leaves and providing much welcomed cooling as the sweat moistened shirt and
desert rat hat cooled off. It was a sublime moment to be savored and remembered,
sitting there under that tree, a memory to hold dear.

After about 15 minutes of trying to decide to hike on down to the road like last time,
or to turn around and go back up the way I came, the die was cast and back I went
the way I came. Big mistake, I now think in hindsight. Within about 15 minutes,
this blogger knew, that going uphill was going to be a real slog. Man, was I right
about that!

I ended up crashing under a bush, trying to escape the relentless mid-day sun, hiding
out under the leaves sparse as they were, rebuilding my strength and reducing my
body temperature. I only staggered to my feet and pressed on when I saw a large shadow
slowly fly over, it obviously was a turkey vulture just checking on dinner, the Morongobill
looking like a large meal on the hoof, just about ready to be served.

So on I went, sweat burning my eyes, hot as the blazes, looking for shade and not finding it at that point in the canyon, and then I saw the most welcome site in the distance, the
younger cottonwood tree with the 3 footstools under it. I turned on my camera and was
unable to lift it up to my eye to frame the shot, I was that tired and close to heat exhaustion.
After about 15 minutes or so I was able to film another video then limped on up the hill.
This video at the above link was taken after resting a few minutes. The next video is the one taken as I walked up to
the tree feeling like I was about to become food for the buzzards.

Or click on link below to watch at youtube.

But of course after resting a while I made it up the trail and back to my car. I did run
into Randy again on the mesquite trail where we chatted a few minutes and I filmed
this short video, at this point I could barely hold the camera, I was so tired.

Or click on this video to watch here on the backporch.

Randy Partlow, the hiker in the video, is a new friend I met here on my 7/22 hike at the preserve who offered
lots of valuable tips and advice to this novice hiker about hiking in the desert and the preserve. Thanks Randy
and I look forward to hiking with you.

This ought to be enough to keep you busy, I will put up another post in a day
or so, talking about my adventure there doing the ridge hikes yesterday.



Here is a great article about the preserve from the N.Y. Times. 

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