Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Almost over did it yesterday at Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve hike.

What a difference one year and no recent hiking made yesterday! The plan was
to drive up to Morongo Valley and hike an hour or so, then come back to Orange County.

On the way up I passed by the new solar farm that I mentioned on these pages
in August. Here are a couple of photographs taken yesterday, one looking toward the farm, and then the view looking toward the opposite direction.
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And the view behind me, showing other renewable energy development.
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This project is located close to the junction of Hwy 62 and Dillon Road.

So anyhow, I continued up the mountain and made it to the BMCNP, and
managed to walk into my own private totally empty canyon at 0918. I am
not kidding, this place was deserted which is just the way I like it! I decided to
make the day a round trip hike of around 4 miles to visit Senor Cottonwood
who is at the 2 mile trail marker down the canyon.

I was a man on a mission, and didn’t spend too much time looking at my surroundings, but I did manage to walk upon several juvenile jackrabbits, who
better gain a healthy fear of possible predators quickly, or else.
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There also was a very interesting chance to photograph the moon against
the backdrop of the canyon walls towering above as well. Unfortunately, I only
had my little digicam with me, and this was about the best shot of the bunch.
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That was taken with maximum zoom.

When I finally made it to my old friend, Senor Cottonwood, I discovered that there was absolutely no shade to be found from the 98 degree or so sun.
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I just love this gnarly ancient cottonwood, the stories he could tell from the hundreds of years of his life, guarding
this jackleg turn in the canyon!

Actually there was some shade along the rock walls as I approached the cottonwood tree, and I availed myself of this shade for a couple of minutes while I made the fateful decision to not go back up the trail the two miles back to my car, but to continue the 2 1/2 additional miles to trail’s end at Indian Avenue, where I would have to either hitch hike or failing that, to walk back the 5 miles uphill to my car.

I chose to continue on as my legs and feet felt up to it.

Big mistake, within a half mile, my feet,knees, and hip joints were bugging me
due to the softer sand and rocks of the trail, combined with my wore out hiking shoes, and the heat which suddenly became more oppressive along with my water which was now hot, instead of being slightly cool. Nothing like drinking hot water on a hot desert hike to make your day. As usual, no planning went into this, I could have bought some sports drinks and froze them overnight, which by the way is extremely satisfying on a hot desert hike, but that’s me- no
planning just wake up energetic and go!

It took about two and a half hours or so but I did make it to Indian Avenue where I stuck out my shaky thumb and lucked out, getting picked up by the very first vehicle coming by. Turns out my saviour was going to be a contestant in a road bike race up near Bishop in a day or so, and he knew the canyon trail,
so we had a good visit.

Once I got out in MV at the roadside deli, I purchased a Bob Marley iced tea and lemonade, which has no caffeine and also contains herbs that relax you,
drank it sitting in the shade, and then hobbled painfully the 6/10 of a mile from there to my car at the preserve parking lot.

From there, I headed home.

Amazingly after a good nights sleep, my legs while still stiff, are much better, and I feel much more energetic and not as down as I have been recently, you see folks, as I have said many times, going to the wilderness clears your mind, going to a totally empty wilderness is that much better, at least for me it is, I recommend highly that you visit the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve, do it on a weekday, bring your camera and binoculars, as it is one of the foremost birding sites in this country, enjoy this show that nature puts on just for you, or so it seems when you are immersed in it, skip the theme parks for a day to see the original one, still available virtually unspoiled after all that has went on in the deserts recently, and one that will remain unspoiled thanks to local residents who rose up against the plan to despoil it, by running massive power
towers and lines, slap dab down the middle of this wonderful canyon- go now.

Anyway that’s it, that’s what I did yesterday.