Place: Randall Henderson Nature Trail, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain National Monument, Palm Desert, California
Coordinates: 33.66986, -116.40726
Length: the entire loop is about 2.5 miles. There are two shorter loop options.
After the hike of Carrizo Canyon we had a picnic at the visitor center of the Santa Rosa an San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The visitor center there has a lovely botanical garden where many birds hang out, with or without the encouragement of bird feeders. (Click on the photos for an enlarged view).
|Lesser Goldfinch (western, adult male)|
|Costa's Hummingbird, female|
The trail goes up and along a desert wash all the way to the water divide. Clouds were coming in as we walked (later that evening it even rained a bit). In conjunction, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.
It being December, nothing bloomed anywhere. The shrubs looked as if they'd hardly got any rain that winter. The cacti, though, are pretty year round.
|Branched Pencil Cholla (Cylindropuntia ramosissima)|
It was getting late and cold, and the chickas were getting very tired. We did, however, manage to complete the longest loop without many complaints on their side. We did have to resort to cookie bribery though.
While the ascent was fairly mild, we did end up quite high above the valley and had a very nice view from there. We even managed to see the oasis of the Dead Indian Canyon. The dusk lighting was very poor so I adjusted the contrast of this photo to bring out those inviting palms:
|Oasis of Dead Indian Canyon|
|Sunset over the Coachella Valley|