March 22, 2010

Photo Essay: Whitewater Redemption

Since last summer, when I went on a different hike nearly every day, I've tramped a lot of trails.

I've conquered the snowy hike, the flooded hike, the insurmountable hike and even the creepy hike.

But as I was getting ready to plan another hike during my return to the Joshua Tree area, instead of finding some new, uncharted adventure, I decided to return to a previously failed one: Whitewater Canyon Preserve.

I'd tried to hike the relatively easy Canyon View Loop Trail but had gotten lost somewhere on the Pacific Crest Trail and got hot, ran out of water and turned back. But on this trip, working to our advantage were the slightly overcast sky and hot but comparatively temperate weather.

And we also asked for directions at the ranger station.

What we got in return was a high climb along a narrow, precarious ridge and stunning views of the white rock canyon below while flanked by beds of wildflowers in full bloom.

Actually knowing where I was going this time, thanks to the ranger station.

Familiar rock-lined paths, where the trail was still flat.

Yep, still on the trail.

Off the road somewhere between the beginning and end of the loop. We started at the end and worked our way back to the ranger station.

Shards along the beginning of the trail, where signs warned us not to take anything.

Bed of wildflowers

The view of the dry river valley on the way up the ridge.

Winding path

View from high up the ridge, on the way down, through steep, slippery switchbacks.

The familiar bridge that crosses the water runoff - this is shortly before I got lost the last time.

I was glad to have the chance to redeem myself to this trail, though I'd had such a good time during my last visit even without completing it. And with wildflower season being so short, it was such a treat to see the desert hills - just a few miles outside of Palm Springs and down the hill from Joshua Tree - so lush and green.

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