December 19

Our first day in Palm Desert, California is coming to a close. I am in my room and Mom and Dad are in their's. We have had a good day. Yesterday was a long travel day with the flights and then 2+ hour drive from LAX to our hotel, the Mojave Desert Resort in the heart of this town. We got into town not long after dark. The ride was interesting especially when we spent mile after mile driving through a massive windmill farm. Many of the tall white 3-vein windmills were turning steadily, but it seemed as though many more were not rotating. Perhaps those are still under construction. To top it off when the sun set it left the scattered clouds bathed in a lovely pink glow.

We decided to start the week easy. Dad hasn't been hiking in well over 6 months. Since he got his foot busted in Bermuda he has not been able to do any serious walking and naturally that took its toll. We decided to try a loop hike on the Shannon Loop Trail which was according to the guidebook about 7 miles long with a total elevation change of 2,000 feet. It took some doing but we found what we thought was the right spot and started hiking across the soft desert floor looking for a trailhead sign. I think we went well over the quarter mile the book said we should. It's likely we did not start in the right place, the instructions were not as clear as perhaps they could have been. But we pressed on, some feeling more trepidation than others, and we did find signs we were going in the right way. We could see people on the embankment off in the distance. We came across a lady coming down from the mountain and she gave us some valuable directions on the route we should take (we were actually doing pretty well). The hike left the beach soft floor and began to climb the switchbacks of the low mountains taking us into short canyons as we climbed. I pulled away and found myself walking through the slightly hazy air along a firmly packed trail lined with scrub. It was too bad that the pleasant world was marred by the sounds of the nearby development of the expanding area. Engines, the beeping of trucks and other heavy vehicles moving about all contribute to the sound-scape. The views from our vantage point were an interesting mix of the desert below, mountains in the distance, and the houses both small and grand mixed in amongst the dark green of golf courses.

Mom and Dad caught up after I had been taking a short break at a rock that had a memorial plaque in memory in Shannon Corliss who this trail is named for (1949-1964). We climbed to one of the many summits of the humps we were crossing and we slowly spread out again with Mom and me in the lead, but Dad was not that far behind. Though we heard birds frequently the only thing anyone saw was a blue bird Mom spotted well off the trail. It took off before Dad could see it, let alone me.

It was a nice day. The temperature was easily in the 70s (Fahrenheit) and there was no wind. The views were nice enough and it was fun to be out. Even though sometimes we wondered if we were really on the right path. We were able to look down on all the houses below including the estate of Bob Hope. According to a runner we met the huge building with its dark round roof is used for big events and fund raisers. We would hike right by the place slowly descending into more canyons as we approached the desert floor.

It was a nice hike. As we neared the end we came upon a road and found ourselves wondering which way to go. We ended up making a guess and walked across a wash. In a few minutes Mom and I saw the glint of a car - our car. We had found our way back to the starting point even though we probably did not take the route laid out by the guidebook which left us a bit confused.

It was early afternoon now. We wandered around the blocks on El Paseo Drive near our hotel. Nice area with a bunch of fancy stores and galleries. there were several people out and about, but maybe not quite as many as we thought there would be. One thing that was interesting was that most of the stores had there doors open and little signs out saying they were open. Guess the inviting doors and mid-afternoon time weren't sufficient clues.

Dinner at Babes, a rib and BBQ joint, followed by a saunter around the large airy mall. It is now edging past 9:00PM and I am about done with this entry and I imaging Mom and Dad are almost done watching The Last Picture Show which they borrowed from the place's video library. A good day.