September 29, 2011

A Second Failed Hike: Palm Springs Museum Trail

During my last trip to Palm Springs, I failed at not one but two hikes.

I was proud of myself that I tried any of them at all.

On my second hike, I attempted the Museum Trail, behind the Palm Springs Museum of Art, because it was positioned close to my motel and close to brunch, and was billed as only moderately strenuous. In the last summer / early fall heat of the low desert, I didn't want to strain myself too much.

But standing in the parking lot at the bottom of the trial, looking up at the vertical climb before me, I could do nothing but giggle. And hoist myself up the rocks until I could go no further.

At first, the trail was really well-marked...

...until I got so high into the San Jacinto Monument that the cleared trail gave way to narrow spaces between boulders, pure rock showing no footprints.

High above the city, I could tell I was near the top of my climb, but I couldn't see it...

...And I was so close to where the Museum Trail was supposed to meet the Lykken Trail, I thought, the worst thing I could do was turn around. If I could only find another spray-painted white dot to show me the way...If I could only find another clearing where I wouldn't have to climb rocks like a ladder...

But after a seeming eternity of looking, I could not find where to go.

And so I went back the way that I came.

I paused under a rock, the one bit of shade on the whole trail.

I hadn't remembered it from the way up.

Everything of course looked different on the way down, making me wonder if I was even following the same trail, and making me doubt my own sense of direction.

I easily found my way back to the trailhead in the art museum's parking lot, and promised myself I'd try the loop again from the opposite direction, starting at the trailhead at the end of Ramon Road and climbing up the Lykken Trail to where it intersects with the Museum Trail, and back down to the art museum's parking lot.

That is, if I can find it...

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