Monday, January 6, 2014

A Trip to Mecca (Hills), CA

In Southern California, between the northern shore of the Salton Sea and the southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park are the Orocopia Mountains with the Mecca Hills on the western edge.  Box Canyon Road cuts through the valley with lots of OHV and hiking trails through canyons and to summits with incredible views.  We quietly welcome 2014 camped at the southern entrance of this high desert national park with a few other campers.

New Years Eve day we decide to do something different - we try our first date shake!  Sounds kinky, doesn't it?  In this area just east of Palm Springs, date palms are grown for their fruit and all kinds of delicious foods can be sampled - date pancakes, date bread, softened dates, and the infamous date shakes.  Who would ever think of making a milk shake from dates, but I'm glad someone did - they're the most delicious shake I've ever had!  After browsing through the gift shop and the beautiful gardens, we drink our shake and head to the beach, at the northern shore of the Salton Sea where we set out our zero-gravity chairs in view of hundreds of migrating pelicans, ducks, egrets and other water birds, then watch the sun fade behind the Santa Rosa Mountains before heading home to watch the hockey game.  We are Canadians, after all!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Inside Painted Canyon, a very busy trail in the Mecca Hills near Indio.
Marilyn in the slot on the Painted Canyon Trail. The rock walls can't compare in colour to those in southern Utah, but the textures are fantastic. Here, however, the walls are mostly hardened, compressed clay as opposed to sandstone.
Marilyn on the Ladder Trail in Painted Canyon. This is a pretty difficult trail with several ladder climbs, and up is definitely easier. Views from the top are fantastic, but into the sun so we don't take any photos.
The fertile valley between the Salton Sea and the Orocopia Mountains. Along the road are fields of crops bearing peppers and other veggies, with citrus trees in the background.
The gardens at Shields Date Garden where we sample date shakes and other date delicacies.
Relaxing with lunch on Desert Beach at the Salton Sea's north shore. The Salton Sea is over 200 feet below sea level.

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