Dateline: Palm Springs

Let me go on the record here: I don't like leaving Telluride, even in the off seasons. But if one is to travel, and there are good reasons (new places, family, friends, etc.) to do so, late March and early April seems as good a time as ever to make a move. Susan's parents, Bob and Bernice Levitt, for many years have spent a few months in Palm Springs, to escape the misery of the New Jersey winter. It has become a habit for Sus and me to go to California at the end of her parents' sojourn to spend a few days with them in the desert, then to take them to L.A. to stay with Sus's sister Debby for a few days before they return to Hackensack.

As one listens to the traffic on Highway 111, the asphalt artery linking Palm Springs with the valley communities all the way out to Indio, it's a little difficult to believe that quiet and peace reside a few hundred feet higher in the hills that border the highway to the South.

IMGP0249 Afew days ago, Sus and I were hiking up a popular trail that leads from 111, up past the elegant homes that cap the ridge leading up to the wild high ground above, up past the large modern house that was Bob Hope's home in Palm Springs, and on up to a promontory which overlooks the valley, the manicured lawns of the condo developments, the well-tended greens of the golf courses, watered by the "inexhaustable" resources of the Palm Springs aquifer, up to the beautiful desert landscape of the mountain.

We met a man coming down, carrying one spur. To our query, he replied he had gone back up to retrieve it: the day before he and his wife had been riding up the trail. A woman with a large white dog was on her way back down, and wouldn't or couldn't get out of the way. Her horse, sensing predator, shied,  backed off the trail, and rolled down into the arroyo, thirty or fourty feet below. The man grabbed her, rodeo pick-up man-style, and with a few bruises, everyone, including the horse, was ok.

IMGP0254 As in Telluride, once one gets away from the main roads, things get quiet. The rest of our walk was quite peaceful. The spring wildflowers were out, the prickly pears were in blossom, and we even walked past the flat water-smoothed rock where we had practiced yoga the day before.

IMGP0256 A three-hour hike, mostly in solitude, and we were back down to the busy highway, dodging the SUVs, on our way to a pleasant breakfast with Susan's parents, having already had a good wilderness fix for one more day.

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