Monday, December 2, 2013

changing traditions

Thanksgiving is all about traditions. Until your parents move to Palm Springs. Then it’s all out the door when they offer to fly you down for the week!

flying in over a southern California ski resort
hummingbird staking his turf

It’s desert, but it isn’t that hot this time of year. (OK, I just wrote that and realized where some of you live the weather might actually be cold and wintery, sorry!) It was 70 degrees most days, a few high clouds, and we had fun hiking and exploring.

We hiked the slot canyons, climbed rickety ladders, saw a river, tried to look for mountain goats, visited an impressive home, wandered the neighborhood and STILL managed to fit in a whole turkey dinner plus leftovers (thanks Mom), before we crammed ourselves back into the plane to come home. Traditions be damned, it was a good escape.

There are too many photos, but I just couldn't decide. Too many adventures, too little time. We started out in the slot canyons, near the Salton Sea. We chose the ladder canyon trail, hidden by enormous boulders, pictures don't do it justice, weaving and inching through canyons not much wider than your shoulders, the sky just a sliver overhead.

canyons are wide to start with

then get a little narrow
older wooden ladder and still rickety new version
cool cactus pattern

SO had to do a rock stack

blooming ocotillo cactus

The canyons have ladders because it steps up in elevation in a very tricky way. At the top, a glorious view. There are rock cairns to mark your way, as there are no trees or signs to help!

out of the canyon, view to the Salton Sea

folded hills with more hidden canyons
Dad adding his rock to the the very top

landscape makes you feel small, SO on an overlooking hill

back down wasn't so easy

coming out of the canyon

tiny men playing: look closely, there are shoes SO put to look like the rock fell on someone

Then it was off to the place where hikers often see mountain goats. Sadly, they were hiding, and the major river is a tiny creek right now. Visit in a few months and the road is unpassable as the water overflows the road.

Whitewater river: not much right now
but the valley was lovely

Walking the neighborhoods is always interesting. I love the modern houses, great desert landscaping, and especially the creative artist on one block.

one house has art fun with reindeer, there is a complete set

every palm tree should have a velociraptor

this found art is my favorite
this is the type of neighborhood where houses have names

We spent the last morning quickly visiting Sunnylands, an amazing estate. It is owned by the Annenberg Foundation (which uncultured me only knows from their sponsorship of NPR and PBS shows, they do a lot more). We only managed the visitors center and gardens, unbelievable opulence. I know I'd spend my money differently, but it was gorgeous. I appreciated the great gardens, and so did the creatures I found within.

Sunnylands visitor center entrance

reflecting pool

artichoke agave

not bothered by spines

amazing caterpillar

becomes gorgeous butterly

And we flew home late. It was a bit colder, but good to be back. And you can guess what I did the next day: went out to visit Major and ride. I needed to burn off some of those turkey meals!

flying home over Sacramento sunset rice fields

back home, the giant airport rabbit greets you