|After doing a bit of vacuuming to clean up from yesterday's sand storm, we ventured back to Borrego Springs to complete the hike up Palm Canyon to the oasis.
It was a far better day for a hike. Arriving at the visitor center we saw the aftermath of the wind storm. There were large branches down everywhere. There aren't that many trees around here and they certainly are not very tall. The rangers and volunteers had lots of cleaning up to do.
We hiked fast and had a great day. There were quite a few people already up at the oasis when we arrived. Our plan was to hike past the oasis and up another mile or so to another oasis. First off, this canyon and oasis is very unusual for this area. The palm trees are the only native California palms and there are lots of unique flora and fauna. The story goes that back in 2003 a fire raced down the canyon and burned many of the palms. The next year there was a huge flash flood where supposedly a 15 foot wall of water came down the canyon and took out over 200 trees. Today there are only about 75 full grown trees left, but we noticed there are many new trees growing. The creek that feeds the oasis surfaces for a while (where the oasis is) and then drops below the surface as it gets further down the canyon. It is way cool.
We continued to hike past the oasis. It was more like boulder hopping since there wasn't always a trail to follow. We spotted some cairns every so often that helped. We also had to backtrack a couple times when we hit dead ends. Finally, we came to a place where there was one tall, burned palm. This is where the other oasis had been but now all the tall trees are gone. New palms are growing though - very slowly, of course. There are all kinds of insects and mammals that only live in those trees. Their populations must have been greatly reduced when the fire came through.
The were only a couple exciting events that occurred on the hike. The first was when I tried to jump across the creek to a large vertically flat boulder and I just slid down it's face into the water. Nancy was not much help to me because she couldn't stop laughing. The other event was payback when she slid down a rock on all fours and did a face plant into the dirt. I didn't laugh, at least until after I knew she was okay. A couple of scrapes and bruises are small price to pay for a great 5 hour hike.
I hope you enjoy the pics.