Palm Springs area - which is really a string of 6 or 7 or like 20 towns making up the Coachella - is a bit of a strange place.  The majority of the population are snowbirds escaping the cold Northern Winters.  I do not think I saw one person under 50, except the employees at Starbucks.  That alone doesn't bother me... I was kind of hoping to make friends with an old grampa and play crib and drink tea (didn't happen).  However I found the abundance of gated communities and golf-cart lanes rather disconcerting.   I stayed however for the hiking.  

I was told to do the Painted Canyon/Ladder Canyon Hike by a friend back home, so I had to check it out.  And I am sure glad I did!! 

What begins (see above) as a wide sandy path through the canyon turns sharply into a clausterphobics nightmare.  The walls close in, sometimes to the point where you have to put one foot directly in front of the other and not beside, and you start to ascend a series of ladders up the steep canyon walls.  It is magnificent!!  

The other thing I couldn't leave Palm Springs without (besides a picture of the massive Marilyn Monroe statue) was a ride on the world's largest rotating tram car up from desert to snow.  

The Palm Springs Aerial Tram was the dream-child of Francis F. Crocker who wanted to "go up there where it's nice and cool." So simple.  But the problem was it was only 1935 and this seemed ludicrous.  In 1961 construction began and some considered it the "8th wonder of the world."  By 1963 the tramway was completed - Mt. San Jacinto, 10,834 ft, could be ascended in minutes.  In 2000, the tram cars were modernized and this is when the enticing rotating cars were installed.  This means that every single person in the car has two opportunities to look both at the amazing desert view below and the oh so different forest above.  As we were riding it up, the recorded voice on the loudspeaker told us that this 11-minute journey was the equivalent of going from Mexico to Alaska as far as ecosystems are concerned.  

Once you get to the top, many people just go to the restaurant and the viewing deck - but there are also miles and miles of forest to be explored.  I just did a 2 mile loop to take in the vista points - ie. take pictures.  I controlled myself though - so not a million pics like j tree (as the cool people call it! lol). 

Hike:  http://www.hiking-in-ps.com/meccahills.php
Aerial Tram: http://www.pstramway.com/ 

1/31/2013 02:06:54 pm

I love the squirrel look :) Can never remember how to spell it either!
Ps: miss you!


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