Nothing new to report out here in our desert paradise. Oh, except that we moved to a different spot a few hundred yards from our old spot…and it comes with cool front-yard landscaping in the form of a giant Ocotillo plant.
Ever since we first discovered this spiky thorn-filled, cactus-like plant during our visit to Joshua Tree National Park, we’ve become a tiny bit obsessed with them. Probably because out here among the scrubby creosote bushes and tumble weed looking grass clumps, the Ocotillo is often the tallest and grandest form of vegetation. With its towering spikes of thorn filled branches bursting from the barren earth it practically screams “Hey, look at me”.
Yes, I admit to some the Ocotillo might look like an unimpressive bunch of dead sticks but trust me, there’s magic hidden inside those sticks. Magic in the form of the cutest tiny green leaves just waiting for a good dose of rain to appear. The Ocotillo is also renowned for its brilliant display of crimson red flowers in early spring. Sadly none of the Ocotillos we have seen, including the one in our yard, has either leaves or flowers. Until yesterday that is. During a solo excursion up a high cliff while we were hiking yesterday Tim spotted an Ocotillo with the beginnings of mini green sprouts that would soon be leaves. Oh Ocotillo, how you delight!
When we’re not spending all our time obsessing over funny looking plants we’ve also gotten in a few more hikes. Last Friday we ventured over to the state park campground to dump our tanks and fill with fresh water. Since they charge an $8 day use fee to use the dump station we decided to make the most of it by taking one of the popular hikes that begins in the campground. The Palm Canyon trail is pretty much what the name implies- a hike through a canyon that leads to a Palm Oasis. Unlike the palm oasis we visited last week through, this one is an actual oasis with a running stream and charming ponds filled with grasses.
We also went back to the Calcite Mine Road and took another hike through the slot canyons. This time we had our new neighbors, Brian and Leigh, with us. Yup, that’s the other new thing that’s happened around here- new neighbors! Sadly, Dave & Kelly had to leave last Friday. But not before one last dinnertime get together complete with the bottle of Champagne we neglected to drink on New Year’s Eve. (I apologize for the fuzzy photo, but it was just too cute not to share)
Not to worry though, we continued our new found role as socialites by only spending one day alone before our new neighbors and fellow airstreamers, Brian & Leigh showed up on Saturday just in time for sunset.
Yesterday the four of us decided to go on a hike. Since they were excited about the pictures we shared from our last trip to the slot canyons, and we were eager to explore some of the canyons we missed last time, it was decided that a trip to Calcite Mine road would be our adventure for the day. What a great decision it was.
No trip to the slot canyons is complete without a certain amount of boulder climbing and scrambling up step canyon crevices. Luckily this time we left our furry friends behind because some of the climbing we did was kind of extreme (for us regular, non-rock climbing folks that is). Fortunately, we all made it successfully up, through and down, and lived to tell the story.
After all that exercise and sunshine we appropriately ended the day with a few rounds of Brian’s famous margaritas (if they’re not already famous- they should be) and a communal dinner of kale soup and bean taquitos. So even though it’s more of the same out here, the same can be good…sometimes really good. Especially when that good involves desert hiking, airstream friends and yummy food. Since we have no intention of leaving here anytime soon, chances are the next post will contain…you guessed it, more of the same.