Saturday, January 28, 2012

Feeling Better: Hiking Sheep Mountain

I'm well on the road to recovery.  My back is 90% better and the toe is healing.  In fact, it's well enough that I went with some friends on a little 9+ hour hike this past week.

I've also been dieting a bit and have lost 23 lbs. since the day I went to the doctor for the surgery on my toe.

I've done about one hike a week but today's was special so I thought I'd better write about it.

We started off by hiking up the Boo Hoff Trail at the top of the La Quinta Cove.

This trail ascends fairly quickly and soon we connect the Guadalupe Trail that will take us up to Devil Canyon.

No matter what type of shoes I wear these cholla balls just seem to love me.  

Alberto and Carl, a couple of old hiking buddies came along for the adventure.  Once we got to Devil Canyon we headed out to the Northwest toward Bear Creek.  I'm sure at this point both of them are wondering, "Where is he taking us to now?".

Up here we have nice views looking down over Palm Desert and the western part of the Coachella Valley.

Alberto finds a deer antler.  I had told the guys there were lots of deer up on this mountain and now we have some evidence.  This is the first of two antlers we will find today.

This is what we came for.  Exciting, isn't it?  This little crease in the mountain is a place that holds water and has a lot of vegetation.  I thought that perhaps it might be a place the Cahuilla Indians used as a campsite or a gathering place.

Unfortunately, there really isn't too much flat area in which to make a decent campsite.  There may be some evidence of Indian occupation here but we were unable to find it.  We don't have a lot of time to look, however, because we've got a lot of miles and over 4,000 ft. vertical to head back down.

But the views up here are spectacular. 

But that's where we need to get to.

On the way down, we meet a new friend.

But he's not really too happy to meet us.  Carl mentioned that this is the first time in his 40 plus years of hiking in the desert that he's ever seen a rattlesnake in January.  

We make our way down as the sun retreats across the desert.  It actually feels good to be in the shade.  The hike up was just a little to warm for so early in the year.

We say goodbye to the sun.

And hello to the moon.

Why is it that all of my favorite hikes seem to end in the dark?