During the first week of April, Daniel and I packed our things and headed south for a road trip to Palm Desert, California. It's hard to believe it had been two years since we'd been there! I was attending Air Force Basic Training last year during our normal PD trip timeline, so we had to skip a year. Bummer! Thankfully, this trip made the wait well worth it.
We, as we always do, spent out trip being super-active and enjoyed each day by fitting as much in as we possibly could. On our past trips, we've done several hikes like Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Canyon, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Living Desert and The Valley of Fire. Wanting to take in as much as we could, this year we tried new hikes and visited places we'd never been before.
Our first hiking spot was the Coachella Valley Preserve, where we hiked three hours on the Pushwalla Canyon Trail one day and then three more hours on the Moon Canyon Trail the next day. Both hikes were incredibly scenic (and so vastly different!) and we found lots of wildlife on the way. We caught—and released, of course—several chuckwallas, a desert iguana and even a sidewinder rattlesnake! I'd never seen a rattlesnake in person before, so to have Daniel catch it right in front of me was quite a thrill. And don't worry—we were safe! Daniel has been catching reptiles since he was a kid.
In addition to the Coachella Valley Preserve hikes, we also did a two-hour night hike in Joshua Tree National Park (with flashlights! It was so cool!) looking for fun night-time creatures. All we found were black widow spiders... not the thrill we were hoping for, though the hike was wonderful. We also ventured to Whitewater Preserve where we hiked four hours on the Painted Canyon Trail—which ended at a "hidden" waterfall! That one was really neat and very unlike anything else we'd seen on our Palm Springs hikes.
Of course we didn't spend our entire trip hiking. We also got up early to go to the gym each day, spent lots of time with my Dad and his wife, ate lots of delicious food (Armando's is our favorite!) and even managed to get in a round of 18-holes at Desert Falls Country Club.
See more photos from the trip below.
We spotted a red diamond rattlesnake on Highway 247 going into Palm Springs. We pulled him off the road to save him from being hit by a semi. What a neat snake he was!
The gorgeous view of the valley on the Pushwalla Canyon Trail at the Coachella Valley Preserve.
We found a chuckwalla on the ridge of the Pushwalla Canyon Trail at the Coachella Valley Preserve.
One of our more thrilling finds, a sidewinder rattlesnake, which we stumbled upon during our Moon Canyon Hike at the Coachella Valley Preserve. Daniel is fearless, I tell you!
My favorite shot of the sidewinder rattlesnake. He was small but aggressive!
Playing a round of best ball golf with my dad and his wife. They are the most generous people and we wish we could get down to PD to visit them more!
We took a day-trip up to Idyllwild, California. What a neat little mountain town. We ate lunch at the Gastrognome and it was delicious!
We passed a giant flowering yucca on our hike up the Painted Canyon trail at the Whitewater Preserve. That hike was so beautiful and scenic.
Climbing the small "hidden" waterfall at the Painted Canyon trail at the Whitewater Preserve. That four-hour hike was my favorite of the trip.
Our vacations to Palm Desert, though usually a week long, never feel long enough. I love the hikes on those trips—it's so good to be active and enjoy the outdoors—but I love catching up with my dad and his wife most of all. Now that they spend half the year down there, we don't get to see them as often so it's truly nice to be able to vacation to such a beautiful place and spend time with such great people.
Watch the video diary of our Palm Desert trip here!