Sunday, December 18, 2011

A hike to remember, as my right ankle keeps reminding me!

The day after Lee Murray and I did a short walk out by the Palm Springs windmills in the windy pass off I-10, I woke up ambitious and decided to head
back out and really get a hike in.

Ultimately for the day, I walked 6.25 miles, including up a very steep jeep road
which was very sandy, all on dirt roads of various conditions, and visited what
I thought for years, was a spring way in the distance against the base of the mountain, and where I got a real big surprise.

Sorry folks for my huge file size photos recently, these have been shrunk to a
much smaller size and will allow the page to load much faster.

There will also be a video which shows what I found when I arrived at the spring, or what looks like a spring in the distance.
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The view across the wash looking toward the wind farm. If you look straight ahead, past the windmills, you will see the jeep
trail going straight up that hill, heading toward the gap. The top of that gap was my destination.
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The sign warns in spanish that the electric fence is charged with 7,000 volts. At the bottom of the fence, the wires are
less than a foot apart, about 5 feet up, they do get farther apart. The barb wire fence in front is really for show and to
get you to slow down and not miss the electric fence behind it. This sure seems like a lot of security, considering a few
years ago, I hiked into and did photography inside this very windfarm. Also a security guard in an suv patrolled often in
the farm; actually that wouldn’t be a bad job, sitting in an air conditioned suv, looking out at the mountains, away from all
the people of the city. But I digress. Below is a photo of yours truly in this very same wind farm some years ago, before they got all the new fangled security.
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A more svelte but still as bald Morongobill above inside the windfarm seen in the pictures above, circa 2004 or so.

Here is the dirt road after you pass the corner of the wind farm and start out
along the perimeter of the mountain. It seems I was always going up or down
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Walking around the corner a ways, back going downhill, I decided to forgo the
visit to the springs(?) which are the very green areas in the brown mountainside, until after I tried to climb up to that gap first. Here is a photo of the road veering off to the springs(?).
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Below is a closeup of the possible springs location. You can see this from I-10 which is over 1/2 mile away.
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Along the way, I met this little fellow, patiently going about his business and doing his best to ignore me.
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Along the way to the hill with the gap, I passed several rock grottos and
formations. Sorry, I did not photograph them due to the sun’s angle blinding
my digicam sensor.

At last I made it to the base of the hill. Appearances are deceiving sometimes.
Just as when I was walking the dirt road following the perimeter of the base of the mountain, I can not see the top of the hill in this photo; you have to climb up to a higher level to catch the next view up, same with the mountain, the next craggy ridge line is out of sight to you as you look straight up at the immediate ridge in front of you.
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The view looking back down. You see way in the distance at the end of the windmills, the ridge line going down from left to right is the one that I believe has the ancient trail used by the native peoples here for centuries, judging by how worn into
the ridge, that the path looks.
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Upon this large rock, I rested and ate a little bit of trail mix, surveying the
beautiful scene laid out below me, and tried to decide how much further up
to go. I ended up walking to the boulders in the shade straight ahead, and after looking up, decided that I had enough climbing for one day. My destination was to make it up to that antenna you can see in the distance, up top the ridge. By the way, check out this track that I say to the right on the ground below my perch up on that big rock. On the way downhill, I followed
what appear to be mountain lion tracks, going downhill. Big enough to almost
put your fist in, and sunk in good- a big one, no wonder I felt so nervous sitting
up on that rock, like I needed eyes in the back of my head.
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Folks, my ankle is still bothering me, almost 2 weeks later, and I believe the
problem was caused by this steep hill climb. As stated here previously, the
Morongobill hasn’t missed too many meals, I would take about 30 steps, digging into the sand with each one, then hang onto my staff for dear life, resting up for the next 30. So it may be a while before I do that again.

Enough of my belly aching, I hiked on after coming down and took the fork up
to the spring area. The dirt road was more lightly used, there were creosote bushes everywhere blowing with the breeze and also this unknown object was seen.
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Check out all the bullet holes in what may be part of an old truck above. Another shot of the area below.
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I would like to come back here on a mountain bike, bringing a tent, and set up camp behind one of the giant creosote rings,
and kick back for a couple of days. At this distance you don’t hear the freeway, and hardly anyone comes out here except for
a few people on atv’s, and the ones I saw stayed on the dirt roads or rode down the main wash near the freeway.
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This is really a nice area to hike in, or ride a mountain bike. The dirt roads follow along the mountain base and go all the way
to Cabazon in one direction and to Palm Springs in the other, highly recommended! Email me for precise directions.

As I walked up the scenic trail to explore the springs, I kept a sharp eye out for
the roadrunner that I saw earlier when I passed the trail cutoff on my way to
try to climb up the gap. It really was almost an idyllic scene except for the signs of man, like the shot up car or the complete aired up car tire and rim buried half way into the dirt near the springs. Here is a video shot as I walked up to the springs, and this has the surprise that I mentioned earlier.

Sorry those may not be edible.

Below is a screen shot from Google Earth of the day’s hike.
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See the tiny patch of green above here? That is the spring area.

That’s it for today folks, thinking about heading over to the buffet, all this writing
has built up my appetite.

Visit often, any chance you get- light’s always on along with the coffee pot out
here on the backporch.


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