The sun began to peek through the clouds as we left Yucaipa after a day of steady rain; our drive to Indio was short and pleasurably uneventful, so calm that none of the big windmills were turning as we traveled southeast on I-10. We were surprised to find it was still sprinkling as we settled into a site in the nearly deserted RV parking lot at the Indio Elks Lodge (click here to read our review and see photos). Since the weather seemed iffy for a hike, and since it was lunch time, we jumped into the Jeep and drove a short distance to one of our favorite local restaurants, Fisherman’s Market and Grill.
Fisherman’s Market is all about fresh seafood, and has an extensive list of broiled and grilled selections. I admit, though, that all we ever eat here is fried food! Delicious, crispy, deep-fried shrimp for me (in a basket, as shrimp-n-chips, or in tacos), golden fried catfish with chips for Odel. This time, we had a shrimp basket appetizer, fish tacos for me and catfish and chips for him. What delicious decadence! We ordered too much, ate it ALL, and revised our dinner menu from salad and pot pies to salad and nothing.
The next day was a different story.
When we stayed in Desert Hot Springs last year, I decided it was finally time to visit Palm Canyon on the Agua Caliente reservation. We’d never been there to hike, mainly because they charge an entrance fee (why pay when there are so many great free hikes in the area?). The day before our planned hike, a strong storm swept in, flooding the usually dry washes that cross so many of the roads in the area and sending unusually high water through Palm Canyon. So, scratch that plan!
Yesterday was a completely different story – dry, sunny, and calm. Off we went, a 20-plus mile drive along Hwy 111, passing through many of the desert communities in the greater Palm Springs area. Special attention is paid to landscaping the wide boulevards in these wealthy enclaves: palm trees, bougainvillea, roses in bloom in the winter sunshine; fountains and waterfalls gush and trickle at gated entrances to walled communities. What a beautiful drive!
At the reservation’s toll booth on South Palm Canyon Drive, we paid $16 ($9 for me, $7 for over 62 year old Odel), obtained a map of the multitude of short and long trails we could hike, then followed the narrow road into the neck of Palm Canyon. The large parking lot at the Trading Post was less than half full, and we quickly found the trailhead.
Odel among the palms.
Climbing out of the palms on the Victor trail.
What a grand hike! Though we’ve been walking regularly, we haven’t been hiking much, so chose a shorter hike – a 3 mile loop from the Trading Post, alongside the stream under the shade of the palms in the canyon (Palm Canyon Trail), then up onto an arid ridge (the Victor Trail) with views into Palm Canyon and across the valley to the high peaks above Palm Springs. The stream burbling through the shade of the palms attracted flocks of birds, and the air was filled with chirps, cheeps, and the soft chuckles of quail. The hike went too quickly; guess we aren’t as out of shape as we feared. :)
High above the canyon, soaking up the sun.
Back at the oasis, a cool pool.
We’ll be in Indio two more days, mostly stocking up on supplies for next week – 6 days in Anza Borrego State Park, woo-hoo – and our Christmas dinner. Costco and Trader Joes are both within a few miles of the Indio Elks Lodge, one of the perks of staying here. Today: back to the Fisherman’s Market, where I might – just MIGHT – try something that is NOT fried.