Saturday, December 4, 2010

West of the Martinez Landslide

Went out to do a bit more exploring in the area of the Martinez Landslide.  This area is very interesting to me for several reasons.  One, it's fairly close to my house, only about a fifteen minute drive.  Two, it's very seldom visited.  While other hiking areas in the desert are like a parade of people, I never see anyone else in this area and seldom even see human footprints.  And lastly, there's an incredible potential for discovery in this area.  The Torrez Martinez Indian Reservation is near here and the Desert Cahuilla have lived in this area for hundreds of years.  I have already found four trails out here and there are sure to be more.  My time is limited to a couple hours so I won't be able to get far but hopefully I'll be able to find something interesting.

I start hiking southeast from my parking area on an old Indian trail that I discovered last year.

It's obvious that people have been here before but this is not the type of discovery that I'm hoping to make.

Ocotillo are blooming and beautiful.

I'm heading up toward this canyon which is west of the Martinez Landslide.

To drop into the canyon which I hope to go up is steep, loose and rocky. I have to be extremely cautious going down this stuff.

I successful negotiate the hillside of death and make it into the canyon.  It's pretty easy going now.

Unlike any of the canyons in more accessible areas this canyon is devoid of any footprints.

There's a section of rock that is calcified so that indicates that water frequently comes through here although none is flowing today.

This is very exciting to me!  It's a mesquite.  That means two things.  One, there's water beneath the surface because mesquite needs a steady supply of water to survive.  Two, it means the Indians probably came here.  Mesquite was a major food source for the Cahuilla.

The canyon is quite chocked with brush and I find a little trail that leaves the canyon and skirts this mess of skin flaying vegetation.

I also find what looks like a sleeping circle on the side of the canyon.  In  a very short time I've discovered  some interesting things that make me want to return when I have more time.

Just as I'm about to turn back I find something else interesting, a date palm.  I had hoped to find a native Palm Oasis but this is a positive sign.  It means there's enough water in the canyon to support a palm and there may be native palms further up the canyon.

On my hike back I see some pottery sherds along the trail.

Another positive sign that I'm in a place with a wealth of fascinating finds yet to be discovered.


  1. Where is the Martinez landslide? I live in Palm Desert...I've never heard of it and have lived here 38 years. I am enjoying your blog and hope to find some new trails!

  2. The Martinez landslide is south of La Quinta and west of the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation.

    It is marked on the map with an A.

  3. Thanks, Hal! It sounds like a weekend adventure sometime!

  4. I want to check out this trail with you, Hal. Hit me up next time. Of the four you mention, is one of them heading east west or are all the one you are referring to going to the south. I bet that waterfall is flowin right now!