Palm Canyon, California

From the previous days trip to the top of a snow capped mountain, I find myself in Palm Canyon. Once home to Native Americans the tree lined canyon follows intertwining streams. The Canyon is fifteen miles long with hikes mapped out in trails which can be followed on foot or by horseback. Maps are given on entry to the canyons which is charged at $9 each and contain safety information (this I discover over two miles into my hike!).

It is a beautiful day to hike. The sun is shining and the canopy of the Palm tree provides shade. I take part in a five mile hike which takes me up (again!) the side of numerous canyons some steep with narrow paths others feel more comfortable with their wide paths before the ground drops away. The higher I climb the more the giant palm trees below begin to look like rhubarb stems trying to find their way out of the darkness for light.

As I reach the top of the Canyon the lush landscape changes from tall palm trees and cascading water into a barren dry desert. There are cacti everywhere and I note how they appear to stand like meerkats in the heat. The view is awesome from my highest point. In the distance I can see the mountains that I visited yesterday but unlike yesterday I wear cool clothing. The track I follow leads to a pole identifying that I’ve reached the end of my two and a half mile hike in.

I follow the same path on the way out. The downhill hike to the bottom of the canyon is physically harder and I have learnt to focus on the path, avoiding my peripheral vision of the drops beside me. At the bottom the palms shelter me from the heat and I have to cross the river. Having crossed it earlier I know it is just above knee high deep, rocky and sandy. Once on the other side I don’t wait for my feet to dry before replacing my shoes just in case I see a rattlesnake…..

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