Southern California: Hemet, Idyllwild, Joshua Tree
We spent a month in southern California in February. Along with visiting members of Larry's family, we also explored the area. We decided to position ourselves in Hemet for easy access to family and exploration. It was only an hour to the Palm Springs airport for Annette's flights around the US for work.
A cute little mountain town, Idyllwild is a nice place to explore both art and nature. The town is located in the San Bernadino National Forest.
After a walk through town, we stopped at the San Jacinto park office for hiking ideas and a hiking pass. Between our guide books and the information in the center, we choose a seven mile hike called Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock.

San Bernadino National Forest
We parked outside town and put on our hiking boots. Before we left the car, we decided to take our jackets and a snack. The guide said that it was a moderate hike, but seemed pretty steep to our legs. The first part of the hike is through a forest of manzanita and oak trees. As we got higher, the cedar and pine trees took over. Annette read that the Jeffery Pine trees were supposed to smell like butterscotch. They're right!

At first it was warm, but as the hike progressed it got windy and cool. Near the top we got great views of Lily Rock (center above) and Tahquitz Peak. Lily's Peak can also be seen from downtown in the picture above. When we got to the top (Suicide Rock 7538 feet), we realized that it was going to get dark early, so we ate our snack and headed down.


Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park is one of our favorite parks. Having been here a couple times before, we looked at the map and tried to explore new areas. We chose an 8 mile hike to the Lost Palms Oasis. The trail began at the Cottonwood Spring Oasis. The hike includes walks through a number of interesting washes before arriving at an overlook above a hidden oasis filled with palms. After a hike down, we enjoyed a snack on the huge rocks near the palms. Annette particularly liked the trail because of its mile markers. They give a sense of accomplishment after each mile.

29 Palms
The little town of 29 Palms has an interesting history. The major events in local history are described in wall murals throughout the city. We thought the bus mural looked like our motorhome
Having visited the Keys Ranch in Joshua Tree the last trip, we enjoyed the Keys Ranch mural.

Mojave National Preserve
After leaving 29 Palms, we headed north to Las Vegas through the Mojave National Preserve. It was a misty day giving the Joshua Trees an interesting sheen.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 7/01.
Updated 5/02.
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