Monday, December 13, 2010


Took my own advice and have been wandering hiking trails around the Palm Springs area.

The weather has been ideal for these hikes with temps climbing into the low 80s. A bit hot for hiking. With lots of water I manage to cope with the tough conditions. (Sure beats 20 inches of Wisconsin snow -- or anywhere else with snow).

Then there is this cactus which managed a home in this rock. That takes tough living to new levels.

At this time of year, the color of the desert is mostly brown. There are some bloom for the hummingbirds and the bees. Couldn't get a decent closeup of the tiny flowers. Go with your imagination.

Spring is a great time to be hiking the trails when cactus and brittle bush is in bloom. This photo is from spring 2009.

Some creative and ambitious hiker stacked rock atop a high point along the trail. Turned out to be a great place to sit and contemplate my good fortune to be there. Far away from traffic sounds and bird song accenting the quiet, it was a relaxing time.

As I was enjoying the view, the stacked rock reminded me of days on the farm in northern Wisconsin where the annual crop of rocks was a harvest that no one looked forward to, but yet had to be done. And I picked my share.

Over many hiking years, I have added rocks to existing trail cairns and sometimes built a rock structure. Each of those times I've questioned my sanity to call picking rocks an enjoyable activity. So it became justified as an artistic outlet. :)


  1. Adding rocks to cairns, eh? Please consider switching over to just kicking them off the trail; we'd all love that.

  2. Sorry that you feel that way. I hope your destructive tendencies are limited to rock cairns.

  3. I can appreciate your hike yesterday, having been in and about where you are. The pics help recall the feeling that permeated my skin. But I am in the midwest snowstorm which you referred to. I suppose if I had my way, I wouldn't be here.........yet.....
    After I read your entry yesterday afternoon, I took my dogs outside. My little aussie shepherd mix put his nose to the ground through a foot of snow and delightfully followed a trail. I imagine he only came up when he needed air, spraying the snow everywhere and looking like a little kid on Christmas morning. My old golden retriever felt the 40mph wind against his body and purposefully put his nose right into it, loving every moment of being in the weather. They love to look for ice to eat....their favorite. Of course, I stood by waiting patiently or impatiently for them to get to the reason for us being out there in the first place and I realized that my gratitude is having my dogs with me to teach me the real lessons in life. You talked in many posts about is an interesting phenomenon. We humans are always searching for something. I'm kinda glad I have my dogs to show me the way. I'm sure we all must find this in our own way and my purpose here is just to share my way, not to discount in any way your way.

  4. Oops. Shame on me for making the classic mistake of using too many pronouns. I meant that it would be a good idea to kick rocks (not cairns) off the trails. If everybody did a bit of that, the trails would gradually get better to walk or mountain bike on.

  5. I know it is hard coping with those 80 degree temps. Wish I could take your place, was 1 here in mid-Missouri the night before last and about 8 last night. Toooooooo cold for me. I'm heading to Quartzsite in January.

  6. I'm with you, Lloyd. I enjoy seeing the result of some hiker's sense of whimsy out on the trail.

    - Joe

  7. Anonymous,
    Thanks for your clarification of "kicking rocks"... In response to your original comment, I was writing a post: "In defense of the rock cairn." ... As a result of the clarification and with credit to Gilda Radner.... Never mind.

    Thanks for the story about your dogs playing in the snow -- and what we may learn from them on how to live.

    I doubt there will be little sympathy from those who are snow bound -- or just cold.... Still shorts weather, but Palm Springs temps are headed to 70 for the next week to ten days.


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