Hiking alone with pooch is one of my very favorite things. We hike at the same pace, she’s infinitely patient whenever I pull out the camera and we never need to talk…the perfect partnership. When we launch into the wilds it’s just us, the wide, open trail and the mesmerizing deepness of nature. Polly will sniff and scout, while I meditate and ponder and lose myself in nature’s beauty. Simply wonderful…
Around Desert Hot Springs there are actually a lot of dedicated hiking trails, but only limited areas which are truly dog-friendly. We discovered Whitewater Creek Preserve last week and have enjoyed that park tremendously, but we decided to branch out into 2 other cool paw-happy spots over the past 5 days, all within short drives (or walks) of Sam’s Spa. Not only would this provide adequate blog-fodder, but it would give an unprecedented number of pics of yours truly which, as you blog readers well know, is a rare thing (alas with Paul gone, I’m forced to use myself as a picture-prop…ahhh, the tribulations of a photographer)
Mission Creek Preserve
Mission Creek Preserve is literally the other side of the mountain from Whitewater Creek and is managed by the same paw-friendly folks. It boasts yet another creek (not quite as dramatic as the one at Whitewater, but still very nice) and another 4,760 acres of doggie-friendly hiking. Plus it’s got the draw of some cool stone houses. If you’re feeling energetic and have 2 cars you can even do an 8-mile through-hike from one Preserve to the other over the Pacific Crest Trail. Polly and I decided to do a simple out-and-back the day after some heavy storms and enjoyed peaceful hiking with the backdrop of super-dark clouds. Coooool!
Directions// Mission Creek is around 35 mins from Sam’s west of Hwy 62. There is a lower gate which (apparently) can be opened if you call ahead to the Preserve and request it. Otherwise it’s an extra 1 mile to the trails. For more detailed directions click HERE and for trail-map click HERE.
Flag Mountain is a bit of a local “secret”. It’s an un-marked, un-advertized trail leading up to the mountains just northwest of Sam’s Family Spa. I “discovered” it my first year here thanks to some Canadian RV neighbors and, after bumbling around in the desert for several days finally found the trail. It’s a hard upward climb of several miles along the ridge line of the mountain which leads to the namesake (the Flags) and some simply stunning views. We picked a cool morning to tackle the trail and made it to the top around 9AM with the view all to ourselves. Perfection!
Directions// From Sam’s Family Spa turn left at the main exit and walk ~1/2 mile along the road to a raised dirt road on your right. Follow that road approximately straight back to the mountain (last 1/3 will be bush-whacking). Then trail ascends along the ridge and the beginning is marked by a cairn with 2 small flags. Approx start of the hike at 33.935785,-116.434275.
Thankfully hubby is coming home in a few days, so I will no longer have to subject myself to the lens and will (hopefully) have extra interesting stuff to write about. We’ll see…
In the meantime I’ll leave you with our latest sunset. Words are not necessary…