It’s a lovely sunny day, but not a hot day. We need some real warmth, so we climb into the car and head inland search of hot desert air.Along the way we come across a former Duluth resident selling avocados along the road.
And, of course, we have to stop at Dudley’s, where our host insists on buying four loaves of date-raisin-nut bread even though he has spent the last hour explaining that it isn’t as good as he remembers from his youth! (Dudley’s is a California bakery equivalent of Tobies here in Minnesota.)
It is late in the day by the time we get down into the lower levels of the park. It is beautiful – and beautifully lit, but I won’t have this lovely light for long!
Our plans for the afternoon include a hike to Palm Canyon, but we start off knowing there may not be enough daylight left to get all the way to the palm grove and back again.
I’m pleased that there are quite a few flowers blooming.
They make for a nice start to our hike. Of course, I’m happy pretty much anywhere where there are lots of rocks and plants – and there are lots of interesting examples of both here!
There are even a few bighorn sheep, although they are very hard to spot among the big white rocks that dot the hillsides. Actually, I’m completely unable to spot them until they move, at which point they all turn (there are a half dozen of them scattered along the ridgeline) and head away from me. The best view I get is of a bunch of quickly receding white rumps! (Can you spot them?)
We follow the trail along a mostly dry river into the canyon, scanning the hills around us as we go, but if there are more sheep here, they remain well-hidden.
The sign at the trailhead indicated there are also mountain lions here. As the shadows deepen I hope NOT to run into one of those along the rocky trail!
Eventually we can see the palm grove in the distance.
By now we know that continuing all the way to the palms means finishing our return trip in the dark. While I do have a tiny flashlight attached to my bag, it wouldn’t be a lot of fun scrambling over the rocks in the dark.
Maybe it is time to look for a good vantage point and turn around there.
The hike back goes smoothly, without any sightings of either sheep or mountain lions, and we return just in time to watch the sun illuminate the top of the mountains before the sky begins to darken.