Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hike #8: Cove to Lake to Cove, La Quinta and Lake Cahuilla

Date: February 22nd, 2020
Hike Distance: 6.6 Miles
Location: La Quinta, California.  Cove to Lake trail
Hike Start Time: 7:00 AM
Condition: Clear, Sunny, warm
Total Miles: 33.78

I think the American West really attracts me because it's romantic. the desert, the empty space, the drama
-Ang Lee



Once again, this posting will come in a day after the hike occurred.  I'm writing it on the same evening, but I just finished publishing the ladder canyon report after the blogger app debacle, so I"m saving a post for tomorrow night.

I was excited to go hiking for two days in a row.  that never happens with my schedule back in Colorado, but since I was on vacation, I figured I should go for it.  Originally my wife said she would go with me.  The plan was to leave the munchkin at the condo with Grandma and go together.  It became apparent though, that she had no desire to go with me, but was instead concerned about me hiking alone in the desert.  I appreciate the thoughtfulness, but I relieved her of the responsibility.






I found a good looking hike that started super close to where we were staying and was the longest single distance I had attempted yet.  It started at a cove that had an oasis in it and went over a ridge and down to a lake on the other side.  The trail was an out and back endeavor, and looked to be a good choice for a morning alone.



I got up in the morning and started plotting my course.  After using the all Trails app the day before, I found that the info was good but I wasn't able to download the map of the area without their premium membership.  I had been milling it over to begin with, but then I saw the "lifeline" function.  Essentially I can set up people as contacts that the app will alert when I'm hiking.  It allows me to share my GPS location and updates to my trip with.  Perfect:  this will help with my wife's worry.  I had never used it but we'll give it a go.




the trailhead was super close and I got there as the light of the day was peaking over the ridge.  Soon, the whole area would be awash in sunlight but for a few minutes I'd get the cool dawn shade of the desert to revel in.  I activated my trackers and started to go.



The first long bit was a boring walk up a service road.  If it hadn't been for the amazing scenery I would have been more peeved.  I traveled up to where a trail proper broke off and continued along the way.  It was a fun hike and I was feeling good.  My legs were a little sore from having this been day two in a row, but I was okay with a little stiffness.




This is the first hike I tried to go a little faster.  I'm no speed demon, and I'm not in a hurry by any means, but since I was alone and didn't have any reason to stop I thought I'd see what my natural pace really was.  I only sat down once at the halfway point, and tried to keep breaks to a minimum. I also implemented a rule that I might stick with: If you stop to take a picture, take a drink also.  This will be a good reminder to constantly be drinking water while out.





the hike wasn't the most inspiring or spectacular trail I've been on.  It was "nice" but it was one of those trips that never seems to completely leave behind the city.  Just as I was cresting the middle high point and starting down towards the lake, you could see a neighborhood and a golf course.  It wasn't a big deal, but it kind of takes you out of the moment of being alone in nature.   You're up on a path above a teepad sweating and hiking over rocks, and not 100 feet from you is a guy drinking a beer in a golf cart.






I found a really cool bronze horse statue up above the golf course.  I'm not sure who placed it here or why.  there was no information attached to it, and it was kind of a cool thing to find, but it was also a little out of place without context. 






the back side of the hike was basically just walking down a wash with an occasional detour to get around private property.  It eventually ended at the entrance to Lake Cahuilla Park.  At this juncture, I was supposed to pay to access the park.  It was literally a .1 mile leg to get to the lake and finish off the hike as it was written and I was supposed to pay the park fee.  I don't think so.  This is stupid.  If someone walks 3 miles through the desert and enters through the side of a park, just let them walk around for pete's sake.  It's not like I brought a boat or hauled all my picnic gear over.  I'm literally wanting to walk down by the lake and turn around.




there wasn't much "security" at this area so I easily could have just snuck in, but I always try and be the better person while hiking, so I sat on a rock and had a granola bar right by the entrance.  I checked my progress and was making really good time.  I used the app to let my wife know I was heading back and everything was fine and then I started the return



.

By this time, the sun had gotten much higher In the sky, and it was getting warmer.  I put on some sun screen and cranked up the determination.  The elevation would be the same as the outbound trail, but approaching from this side was much steeper, so I had that to look forward to after going back up the wash.





I started seeing more people on the trail on the way back as has become custom for me, and was amazed at how many of them had no water at all with them.  I even witnessed one guy carrying a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew as his hydration.  I get that I'm not the most in shape guy out there, and my place to judge is not on the subject of fitness, but water while hiking the desert seems like a basic tenet of survival







I trudged my way to the top and was feeling pretty good about myself , especially knowing that the rest was pretty much a downward trajectory to the car.  The funny thing is that, usually downhill is a lot harder on my knees.  I start and stop in a jerky fashion for fear that my knees may twist or pop at an odd angle, and consequently it can be fairly painful.  I decided to try and go a little faster and lighter on the down hill sections here.  I bent my knees more and because I have been hiking a lot lately I felt more comfortable placing my foot in the most stable places.   Lo and behold, it was a lot nicer.  It  wasn't graceful, but I have a feeling the more I'm on the trails, the easier it'll get.  It's also a lot quicker for descending.



I saw a high School cross country team and a group of about 35 adult mountain bikers coming up into the area as I was getting close to returning to the trail head.  I'm so glad I start early.  Crowds don't mix with hiking for me.  If I wanted that I'd go to the county fair (ironically, that was the next activity after my hike).




I've racked up almost 12 miles of hiking this weekend, and surprisingly am not feeling any more fatigue than normal.  I think I'll take tomorrow off, and I can't wait to get back to the mountains and find my next adventure back home.



California was wonderful but I miss trees and shade.  the mountains are calling, and I must go.

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