Friday, February 25, 2011

Palms, Growing Everywhere in the Desert Canyons

By Claudia Ricci

I guess most people come out to Palm Springs for golfing, as there is said to be 100 golf courses.

But I've only seen one, as we drove to Palm Canyon, one of many of the so-called "Indian Canyons," part of the reservation where the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lives. We hiked Palm Canyon first, and saw 3,000 native California fan palms. Of 2,800 species of palm world-wide, this is the only species of palm native to California.

Then, yesterday, we went back to hike Andreas Canyon. Everyone on the trail was smiling. It is one of the most astonishing places I've ever been. It's like hiking in the Garden of Eden. It is the sort of place you wish you could airlift every single person you love in for a few hours.

Bubbling streams.
Gigantic pink and rose-colored rock. Waving palms. Cactus as high as your shoulders. And tiny desert flowers.

Clear air. Blue skies. Mountains powdered with snow. And so much rock.

We were having so much fun that when we reached the end of the hike, we turned around and hiked back in the other direction.

The ocotillo cactus, with their thin limbs sprawling 10 or 12 feet high, had red flowers that attracted hummingbirds! So too did the tiny red chuparosa, a desert flower that resembles honeysuckle. And yes, the blossoms are sweet and taste a little like cucumber! People here put them in salad!

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