Well actually what I said was let’s take the Palm Canyon hike Mr. Maxx but that didn’t make for as good a title 🙂
The ferocious winds finally stopped after three days and the sun was out in full force so a hike was definitely in order. After re-hiking the two slot canyons in the area we decided to do the Palm Canyon hike … and it was well worth the trip!
You can park at the trail head, which is inside the State Park, for $10.00 or you can do as we did and park at the Visitor Centre for free and hike the 2km (1.25mi) to the trailhead. The hike from the Visitor Centre to the campground is 1.12km (.7mi) on a paved path,
and then another .88km (.54mi) on a sandy trail to the trailhead.
At the trailhead there is a cool bathroom made out of stone with no roof. Hubby went into the men’s washroom and said it was clean.
Near the start of the trail we came across some desert lavender bushes … they look more like trees compared to the lavender bushes as home!
The trail starts off travelling through rocks and boulders carried down from the mountain by flash floods … it’s hard to believe there is a beautiful green oasis hidden between those hills.
Mother Nature has painted some of the rocks with a very thin coating of microscopic bacteria colonies, which may represent some of the oldest living colonial life forms! The bacteria absorb manganese and iron from the atmosphere and grow blackish or reddish.
Once we were through those rocks the path turned sandy and was lined by desert willows. This is not a willow tree like we are used to but more of a shrub that grows when its roots can reach water.
We came across this shrub, with pretty red flowers, many times and finally found out it was called a catclaw because of the curved sharped spines on it.
As we came around a huge boulder we could see the start of the oasis.
And then we arrived at the heart of Palm Canyon … home to the California Fan Palm.
The California Fan Palm is the only palm tree native to California and in it’s natural setting will have a skirt of palm fronds. The frond skirt protects the bark from water loss and insect predators.
It was just so amazing to see all these lush green plants and trees after walking through dry desert!
We took the alternate trail back, which was not as well marked and about half a mile longer, and it was just as interesting as the main trail.
All totalled we covered 8.5km (5.28mi) and for the most part it was a pretty easy hike. There were some areas were you had to climb through rocks in narrow areas of the trail.
Until next time …