Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part XI – Living Desert, LA, and home

Thursday, 30 April 2009 (continued from here):

After our fun little hike at Tahquitz Canyon, we had a delicious breakfast at Chubby’s, where I ordered a bacon flight consisting of 5 different types of bacon (yeah!), and then checked out and headed a half-dozen miles south to Palm Desert/Indian Wells, where we visited the Living Desert, a combination zoo (containing only un-releasable animals), wildlife oasis, and state-of-the-art animal hospital.  A docent at Big Morongo Canyon the day before had recommended the Living Desert both as an interesting zoo and garden, as well as a good place for wild bird-watching, so we were interested to see what all was here.

Black-crowned Night-Heron by you.

Black-crowned Night Heron in the aviary


Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part X – Tahquitz Canyon

Wednesday, 29 April 2009 (Continued from here):

After our lovely birdy walk at Big Morongo Canyon, we continued heading towards Palm Springs, stopping in Desert Hot Springs to check out Yerxa Cabot’s Pueblo (see photos here).  The tour was good, if a bit long-winded, but it’s definitely the sort of off-the-wall place that gives the desert a mostly-justified reputation for being inhabited by “colorful” characters.

From Desert Hot Springs, we continued into Palm Springs, checked into our hotel, and had a so-so Mexican dinner downtown before retiring early’ish.

Thursday, 30 April 2009:

We woke early and after a quick bite, drove a few miles to the trailhead for Tahquitz Canyon, one of three “Indian” canyons in/near Palm Springs located on the land of the Agua Caliente band of the Cahuilla tribe.  This was the first hike I can recall that charges admission.  Not  a typical parking fee, as found in most State & National Parks, but a per-person fee actually hike the trail – $12.50 per adult.  It’s hard to begrudge the tribe’s efforts to make a livelihood, however, and I certainly prefer this to yet more Casinos!

After quickly perusing the visitor’s center, we hit the trail at 7:50.

Visitor's Center by you.

Taquitz Canyon Visitor’s Center


Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part IX – Big Morongo Canyon, AKA Birding Paradise

Wednesday, 29 April, 2009 (continued from here):

We woke up and finished packing our stuff, then after a quick breakfast, hit the road, destination Big Morongo Canyon.  This preserve, located in Morongo Valley, was listed in “California Hiking” as an excellent birdwatching destination, and it was right on our way to Palm Springs, so we were eager to see what it was all about.

Entrance sign by you.

A multi-lingual welcome


Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part VIII – Mastodon Peak, Cholla Cactus Garden revisited

Tuesday, 28 April, 2009 (continued from here):

We briefly visited the Cottonwood Visitor’s Center, which unsurprisingly had much the same information as the other two park entrance stations, then drove a few more miles to the Cottonwood Oasis, the trailhead for the Mastodon Loop we were going to hike.  After talking for a few with a couple from Los Angeles, we hit the trail at 12:25.

Cottonwood Oasis by you.

Cottonwood Oasis


Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part VI – Split Rock, Hidden Valley

Monday, 27 April 2009 (Continued from here):

We were a bit peckish after our pretty drive on Geology Tour Road, and Split Rock looked to have a picnic/day-use area, so we headed there.  At road’s end is the namesake rock, true to its name with a big split down its center.  We settled into some yummy sandwiches and chips and beer, then decided to walk the short trail indicated on our map.

Split Rock by you.

Split Rock