"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Palm Springs, CA - So Much to Do & See

Palm Springs, CA
Palm Desert Resort

(this is from March 1, 2020)

Palm Springs is another area I haven't been and wanted to see, especially Joshua Tree National Park.  Since we are Thousand Trails members we took advantage of our free stay at their park in Palm Desert.  We'd have preferred to boondock outside the park, but it was still very hot so we stayed at the park a few miles away.  It is a pretty park with all the palm trees even though the spacing is tight.
Site #145
Looking back towards the entrance.
We spent a full day at the park but you could split it up to two and spend more time hiking.  We did not have time to see the NE road and there was a couple of cool things I would've liked to see, especially the oasis.  I'd wear layers as it was very hot and very cold at different times.

We came in at the south entrance.  Most of the park is dry and barren but now and then we saw some color.

This is all that's left of Silver Belle Mine.  They pulled out gold, lead and silver. Stakes were made in 1865, peaked in 1917 and closed in the 1960s.
The Mojave and Colorado deserts meet up out here.  There is just a slight difference in the plants.
The area around of the Rocks were our favorite.  Like other places we have visited, there are piles of huge boulders piled around in this area.  

We took the trail to see the Arch Rock which is the popular sight to see just off the trail.  Very cool.

You could wander and scramble around here for hours.  Our kids would've loved it here when they were little!

We had a blast, but we were here to find a special rock that isn't listed anywhere.  It's one of those cool things you read about from others.  I had a description and a nearby geo coordinates so off we went!
Heart Rock!  How awesome is that?!
It just stands there, not held up by any other boulders.  The rock to the right of it looked like a baked potato.
I love finding hearts in nature and this is my favorite so far.  If you'd like to search for it next time you're in Joshua Tree, it's not too hard to find or too far off the trail.  Here are the coords:
33 59 17.2N   116 00 48.3W

Further on down the road going NW is Skull Rock.  Looks strangely like the one out in Quartzsite.
There are patches of rocks that just jut up from the desert.  Many are popular for rock climbers.
While they climbers are hard to see on the left, you can see them zoomed in at the top.
At one of the lookouts, you can see forever over the Coachella Valley.  There is often much smog in the valley that blocks out San Jacinto Peak on the other side.  We will be hiking there later on.
While driving north on our way out of the park, we came upon this grave all by itself off the road a bit.  We were geocaching and found it.  Jonny Lang, a mysterious miner, is buried here nearby the ruins of his old cabin.

We really enjoyed our day in the park.

During the week we'd explore some quirkier parts of Palm Springs.  There are many large roadside attractions you can find all around like this huge roadrunner.
We stopped in at Shields, one of the date farms.  Not too much was going on and the visitor center was quite lacking.  This used to be a very busy place.  There was the small theatre with an interesting show.
Even the dates sex lives weren't too interesting either.  We grabbed some chocolate goodies and continued on our exploration of the area.  We had some famous folks to find.
In nearby Cathedral City you will find the grave of Sonny Bono.  Besides being the other half of Sonny & Cher, he was mayor of Palm Springs for many years.  Frank Sinatra is also buried here but we could not find his grave.
In the quaint downtown district of Palm Springs we found his "star".  There are many cute shops and eateries.  We found a nice spot to have Mexican food just past his statue.

It was pretty empty until a large party sat next to us.
Another evening we came across some other things to see.  Some large like this huge spider with a VW Bug body and some creepy...
Like this group if 8 foot tall naked baby sculptures with bar codes on their faces.  It's about consumerism and dehumanization.  Pretty strange!
This is where Elvis and Pricilla had their honeymoon.  Maybe Palm Springs was all the rage back then.
Time to try out a local brewery.  Palm Springs Tap room was a nice choice.
Riding the tram was one of our highlights.  You should make a reservation ahead of time. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tram car.  It is over 2 1/2 half miles up the cliffs of Chino Canyon.  It takes you up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park.   Elevation at the top is 8,516 feet.  We paid $25 each for tickets and spent several hours up top hiking.

The views going up are amazing.

Partial moon out.
We knew there would be snow up here and were dressed for it.  The trail was pretty icy though and sloppy in some spots so we had to be very careful.
We also did a few geocaches and enjoyed the quiet up here.

There were "notches" on the trail where you could walk cliffside and get some great views.

The sun was going down pretty quick so we headed back.  We had some chili inside the restaurant back at the tram which was great.

View from the restaurant.
Absolutely loved the lights of Palm Springs below as our tram came down.
Our week in Palm Springs was awesome.  Except.  I seem to have come down with a case of Shingles.  ACK!  How the heck?!  I went to an Acute Care and was taken care of.  Only problem is we are headed to our son's for the birth of our first grandchild and we will have to wait until my condition heals.  Luckily I had a light case and he's not expected to be born until the end of the month and I should be fine by then.


  1. Some cool stuff you found. We hope to explore a little of CA next winter, not going to sit still next winter. Kind of surreal, seeing all the open things and knowing what was going to be happening soon after this post. Bummer about the Shingles, we got our shots this past summer.

    1. It is weired looking back. Yes the Shingles weren't fun, but luckily I think I had a mild case. The phantom pain after was a surprise. It took a week to go away. I got the shot this year. Looking forward to some somewhat normal travel for 2021.

  2. Yes, we were just hearing the vey beginning of Covid. Steve & I both got our shingle shots this year too! Don't want that again!

    1. Good idea. I've been telling others my age to look into it too.

  3. We really enjoyed Joshua Tree when we were there. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It was a fun time looking for the heart rock. Wish we didn't miss the oasis. We'll have to stop back by.

  4. Great pics from my old backyard. Joshua Tree is a special place. The Heart Rock is a new one for me!! I think the date sex life movie and the VW spider have been there for fifty years - both icons :-) Always fun to find snow above the desert. I've never been up there at night, the lights are beautiful. Oh no shingles! Hope it was a quick and mild case.

    1. It was nice to finally get to go to JT. We tried to see as many of the quirky icons as we could. I'd like to go back in the summer and do some more hiking up top.

  5. Ron and I had an overnight spot near Joshua Tree but unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the NP. Hopefully next time we're in the area we'll leave free time. I like trams too. We went on the Squaw Valley (ski resort) tram with Rufus a few years back and hiked down. The ride up wasn't nearly as long as your ride. Hot chili is always a nice way to warm up.

    1. Ya you gotta go! Lucky Rufus. Hurley rode one in Telluride, CO.


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