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Painted Rock Canyon Hike

February 26th, 2017

          Yesterday I joined my neighbors, Anna and Tom, for a Docent-led hike in Whitewater Preserve’s beautiful Painted Rock Canyon. I’d previously hiked the same route in January with Great Outdoors Palm Springs members. That hike occurred following earlier heavy rains and high water in the canyon’s stream prevented us from hiking the canyon’s full length.

          We met others near the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station at 9:00 am. There were 17 members in our group including Bob, the Docent hike leader, and Kyle, a Ranger who acted as hiker “sweep” in the rear. All were warmly dressed and carried appropriate hiking gear. Skies were clear, a slight breeze felt with temperatures moderately cool and comfortably “just right” for hiking.

            Painted Rock Canyon Views

          Painted Rock Canyon is a rather narrow one that’s less than two miles in length. The hike to the canyon’s alluvial fan entrance is a mile, or so, from the Ranger Station. The path becomes rocky and gradually steeper as the canyon walls begin to narrow along the route. Two of the canyon’s noteworthy features are some “painted” rocks along the way and a waterfall at the canyon’s higher end. Along the way, Mother Nature’s rainbow-stripe rocks that we saw proved worthy of their “painted rock” designation.

                         Rainbow Rocks

                         Rainbow Rocks

          Water flowed in the stream running down the canyon and the path crossed it more than a dozen times. However, the water level was not high enough to impede our progress and we reached trail’s end and the waterfall area by midday. After spending time taking photos we moved a short distance away and stopped for a snack break.

          Retracing our steps down canyon we often paused for photos of the canyon walls, rocks and views towards the canyon exit. A brief pause was made to view a large rock sculpture next to the path. Others had built it and a close inspection revealed several interesting features. We left it untouched and continued our route until we arrived back at the Whitewater Preserve headquarters and parking lot around 2:30 pm.

     Rock Sculpture & Canyon Stream

          It was a very nice hike. All in our group proved to be good hikers and none failed to navigate the sometimes rocky path, stream crossings or other obstacles encountered along the way. We appear to have been the last canyon group starting that morning for, though we encountered a half-dozen groups during our hike up the canyon, we saw none during our return. The Painted Rock Canyon route proved to be an enjoyable hike. It’s a nice midday outing, provides a welcome relief from asphalt and concrete, and certainly qualifies as credit-worthy cardiovascular exercise.

Bond Shands
February 26, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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Valentine’s Day City Loop Bicycle Ride

February 15th, 2017

          The Valentine’s Day GOPS bicycle ride in Palm Springs began with a tour of Smoke Tree Village and Smoke Tree Commons shopping centers. Following an exit into the Araby Commons neighborhood the route crossed East Palm Canyon Drive before reaching El Cielo Rd. Riding north the group of eight riders passed Palm Springs Baptist Church and crossed over a Tahquitz Creek filled with fast-moving snow melt from Mt. San Jacinto.

          Continuing past Mesquite Golf Course the route passed Civic Center’s Palm Springs International Airport terminal, Riverside County Courthouse, City Hall and the Dog Park. Next followed Alejo and Cerritos Roads which allowed passage through several Palm Springs recognized neighborhoods including Sunmor, Sunrise Park, Oasis del Sol, Sunrise Vista Chino, and Vista Norte. A crossing of Vista Chino near the Stater Brothers shopping center to Via Esquela marked the northern point in the ride.

          Heading south on the Avenida Caballeros’ gradual downhill bike lane, a detour in the Movie Colony neighborhood made it possible to view the famous Robolights home on Granvia Valmonte. Afterwards the route crossed through downtown on Amado Rd past the Palm Springs Convention Center, Spa Resort Casino, new Spa Resort parking structure, U.S. Main Post Office, O’Donnell Golf Club, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Desert Fashion Plaza construction site. Continuing south via Cahuilla and Belardo Roads, through the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, riders passed Casa Cody Bed & Breakfast, Palm Springs Women’s Club, Chairman Richard M. Milanovich Bridge, and Plaza Del Sol Shopping Center.

          The route then led into the South Palm Springs Indian Canyons neighborhood after passing Mooten Botanical Garden Historic Landmark nursery. Riding past Indian Canyons Golf Resort and Smoke Tree Stables riders experienced another refreshing long downhill route ending at the morning’s starting point in Smoke Tree Village.

          The two-hour ride started at 10 am from Smoke Tree Village in front of the U.S. Post Office and PHO 533 restaurant. Thanks to Scott Connelly for photos of riders and route map.

 

Bond Shands
February 14, 2017
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Tessa – Ready to Party

February 10th, 2017

          Contessa Le Rouge, or “Tessa”, spent most of the morning at the Bath & Brush doggy beauty salon. While there she received the full coiffure treatment including bath, hair trimming and brush along with nail clipping. When I picked her up I almost didn’t recognize her for the transformation returned her image to the movie star look she wears so well. Her beautiful appearance should last at least through the remainder of the day and only start to disappear when the irrigation sprinklers in the yard come on and leave lots of wet grass in which she delights to run and play.

          On February 28th Tessa will be fifteen months of age and appears to be in perfect health. That level of health continues to amaze me for she seems to pick up anything from the ground that will fit in her mouth. She’s also still very much a chewer and targets include anything not yet tried – or worth trying again. Among toys, including chewy ones and rawhide chew strips, more than a dozen survivors continue to occupy floor space on the dining room floor. I retrieve them daily and stack all neatly in a corner – where they may remain until my back is turned. She continues to treat the word “no” as a suggestion and gives me mournful looks when I use her leash as a restraining tether. I’ve grown accustomed to feelings of guilt throughout our daily morning walks.

          Tessa now weighs over nine and a half pounds. I assume she’s reached her full size. She continues to seek attention from all she encounters and enjoys meeting and greeting both people and other doggies. Tessa has made lots of friends – many know her name but few remember mine, they stop and give her the attention she seeks and the effect is to remind me of my place in the scheme of things. May soon be submitting my credentials and resume’ of puppy care experiences to see if I now qualify for an Obedience Certificate. Maybe even one with more than a single gold star affixed to it.

          The photos above were taken today and show Tessa’s appearance both before and after her visit to the Doggy Beautification Parlor. Seems strange those types of visits work so well on her but not as well for me. Not certain why but will continue to seek an answer for it would be nice to look like a movie star.

Bond Shands
February 10, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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Quail Wash Hike to Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road

February 8th, 2017

          Yesterday Scott Connolly led seventeen GOPS (Great Outdoors Palm Springs) members on a midday 6 mile hike through Mojave Desert Land Trust property adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. The route began at the Quail Wash trail head above Yucca Valley and continued to Yucca Valley’s Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road (JTSRR) Museum destination. The trail, normally filled with sand, was a bit more firm due to the recent rains and that served to make walking easier. Portions of it eventually climbed several hundred feet over ridges and then continued down a dry stream bed. Climbing around several dry waterfalls proved an invigorating challenge but did not deter any from continuing. Clouds above helped protect from the sun’s rays but significant winds were encountered throughout the hike. 

          We arrived at the Museum shortly after pausing for a midday snack. It was not open the day of our visit and no model trains were seen using the tracks. There were no signs or other indications barring visitors so we spent time wandering around the outdoor rail road tracks and grounds.

          The JTSRR Museum is a rail road hobbyist organization created to “establish, maintain, and improve an interpretive historical display of full size and scale exhibits of railroad equipment and associated industrial artifacts”. It’s a membership organization consisting of “demonstration railroads operated on the property … for educational, recreational and interpretive purposes”. JRSRR members and others operate their trains on the museum trackage which includes fully operational 15″ gauge, 7 1/2″ gauge, and G-scale trackage which exists amid the rocks, sagebrush, trees, and cactus in an outdoor desert setting”. The museum also “features several full-sized railroad cars, as well as a railroad station building which houses our Francis Moseley live steam model collection”.

          There’s considerable information about the organization on their website, including days of operation, and in an online description from the Desert Road Trippin’ blog posted in 2015. The links to both follow:

JTSRR Website http://www.jtsrr.org/home.html
JTSRR Museum Description http://www.jtsrr.org/home.html

          More information about the Mojave Desert Land Trust and Quail Wash may be found on their website at the following:

The Mojave Desert Land Trust http://www.heartbeatreport.com/the-mojave-desert-land-trust/#.WJtefH-XyFA

          After spending time on the museum grounds we began our return to the Quail Wash trail head. It started out uphill on a dirt road to the top of a ridge where we exited onto a rock and sagebrush scramble down towards the desert floor. Our cross-country route ended on a named street dirt road that eventually led us to the trail head and our parked vehicles.

          All in our group agreed it was a good hike on a pleasant day with an interesting route. It started at our Palm Springs 9:30 am meeting location followed by car-pooling through Morongo and Yucca Valleys to the Quail Wash trail head. The hike ended around 2 pm and  by 3 pm we had returned to Palm Springs and a visit to a local Yogurt Palace.

 
 
Bond Shands
February 8, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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A Super Bike Ride Sunday

February 5th, 2017
 
          Today Scott Connelly and I led a Sunday morning bicycle ride for members of the local GOPS (Great Outdoors Palm Springs) chapter. Fourteen of us met in front of the Demuth Park Community Center starting point at 10 am. It was a perfect day for a bicycle ride with moderate temperatures, just enough cloud cover to provide protection from the sun and almost no wind.
 
          Our planned ride via the Tahquitz Creek Loop bicycle route started through portions of DeMuth Park, continued onto a path bordering the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course greens, under the Gene Autry bridge and then past the Water Park. Continuing east to Golf Club drive we next headed south past the Tahquitz Creek Resort entrance to the crossing at South Palm Canyon wash. Leaving the Tahquitz Creek Loop we turned east on the future CV Link Connector bicycle path (bordering the wash) and continued via the Jenkins Trail to the Cathedral Canyon Drive crossing. Our route in Cathedral City continued along the Whitewater River trail east, under the Date Palm Bridge, up behind Palm Springs Motors and on into Rancho Mirage towards Frank Sinatra Drive. Crossing the Whitewater River on Frank Sinatra Drive we entered Michael Wolfson park where we encountered the Butler-Abrams trail heading south to Country Club Drive. On our way we detoured to view a long wall designed to appear as a bookcase, followed by a stop facing a farm of future goat parents. After members satisfied their goat viewing quest we proceeded to the turnaround point at Country Club Drive. We then retraced our route until exiting the Jenkins Trail where we headed south on Calle Arriba and then west on Bolero Road until it terminated at Golf Club Drive where we rejoined the Tahquitz Creek Loop trail. We then proceeded south on Golf Club Drive until East Palm Canyon where we headed west to Escoba Drive then east to El Cielo Road and north to Mesquite Avenue. We turned east and ended our ride at the Demuth Community Center at 12:15 pm.
 
          Our route consisted of dedicated Class 1 bicycle paths, Class 2 bike paths adjacent to vehicle lanes, and a few unofficial bicycle paths (not maintained) that included dirt, sand and gravel surfaces. A portion of ride included the path in the Whitewater River wash and we were able to observe places where rushing water had left its mark. Walking our bikes though one short sandy section of the path proved beneficial.
 
          This was a ride where those with plans or need to leave the group proved easy. By ride’s end only three of us were left in the group that returned to our starting point. However, from reports heard during the ride all appeared to have enjoyed the 16 mile opportunity to spend a few hours on their bicycle.
 
 
Bond Shands
February 5, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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Twitter – @BondShands