Daily Archives: January 18, 2004

A Diversion from Politics

Only two days before the Iowa Caucus, instead of keeping my eyes glued to CNN or the computer screen, I found myself hiking in the wilderness of Southern California! A magnificent place – just to the south of Palm Springs is Mount San Jacinto Wilderness State Park. An airial tramway (with quite a large gondola) whisks passengers up about a 2 mile cable to the mountain station, some 8,500 feet above sea level. Here is a beautiful high forest with large pines – and about 2 inches of snow with a temperature of 39F (and to think I go hiking in the snow in California after leaving the icebox in Boston!).

I didn’t stay in the “cold” long, and soon I was back in the desert below for a quick lunch in Palm Springs. Next was a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. The park is another national treasure, a beautiful desert landscape filled with, yep, Joshua Trees – essentially a rather large Yucca plant. The landscape was filled with huge rounded boulders of granite, flat plains, and mountains. One small hike was through the “hidden valley”, a lowland area surrounded on all sides by rocky uplift (with spires) – it was blasted into in the early part of the 20th century in order to allow cattle to access some vegetation to feed on. Overall, a very enjoyable outing.