Hiking Through the Book

Good morning, Palm Springs!

Good morning, Palm Springs!

If you’ve hiked in the Coachella Valley, you’ve seen them. The sweaty no-body-fat deities, the ones who always seem to go running past Peter and I (fast! uphill!) just as I pause mid-trail and announce that we have been very virtuous and perhaps deserve a round of breakfast sandwiches. I admire the beautiful people the first time they run past us. The second and third times they lap us, I loudly remind Peter that no one likes a show-off.

Perhaps you are one of them. If it was you who heard me thrashing and griping about how the trail had suddenly become kind of difficult, and patiently pointed out that we had left the (well-marked) trail, and were trying to hike up a wash, then thank you. Now go.

This entry is not for you.  This is for the casual hiker, the one who brought her running shoes but not hiking boots, who would like some exercise and scenery and would not like to not return home with a broken ankle or snakebite[1]

This is hiking through Best Easy Day Hikes Palm Springs and Coachella Valley.

#2 North Lykken Trail to Museum Trail

This trail is in Palm Springs, at the end of Ramon road, so it requires about a 20-minute drive from The Biskra House. I will repeat what many hiking blogs have said: be sure to conceal or remove any valuables from your car when you park, there have been some break-ins at trails. I don’t know how current that advice is, but better safe than sorry.

Since it was mid-summer, we arrived around 6:45 a.m., when the temperature was quite pleasant, and hiked for about an hour, opting to head back before the day’s heat set in. Note for first time visitors: In the high season (November–May) temperatures are much more reasonable, and there is a much larger window for outdoor activities.

The trail is well marked, with white circles discretely spray painted on rocks along the way. A sign at the beginning says that a local hiking group is responsible for maintaining the trail (thanks), and that they really want you to stay on it (sorry, see above). It ascends in switchbacks, rather than straight up, so the climb feels steep but manageable, a level the book describes as moderate. We agree that it’s challenging enough to get the heart pumping, but do-able for a beginner. Even in the vegetation-scarce summer it’s a visually interesting trail, winding through and over rocks, some with soft liquid layers and others in jagged, flaky stacks. In several places the trail opens to sweeping views of the valley.

The day we went it was a bit crowded because there was a large group on the trail, but this may have been an anomaly. We saw three or four  who looked like regulars, including a shirtless dude who bounded past us like a headphone wearing gazelle, and imagine that this is more the norm.

We look forward to visiting this trail again, and making it to the top, especially in the spring, when the book says rain and snowmelt can fill basins with wildflowers and plants in near tropical abundance. Maybe we’ll see you up there. Maybe, by spring, we’ll be the ones running up hill, sweating like magnificent beasts and shining in the sun.[2]

[1] I wish I could guarantee that these things are impossible, but alas I cannot. I can however, explore these trails in my own bumbling way, and assure you that if I can avoid them, you probably can, too.

[2] Probably not. See you at Koffi, please save me a ham and cheese bagel.