Day 4: Rest day, Palm Canyon hike - Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego, Imperial Valley 2016 - CycleBlaze

November 3, 2016

Day 4: Rest day, Palm Canyon hike

When planning this tour I didn't expect to need a rest day in Borrego Springs, but I knew it might be necessary and that Borrego Springs is the best place on this tour to take a rest day because it's surrounded by the state park.

My main objective for today is to hike the Palm Canyon trail. The canyon faces east, so the view is best in morning sun. To get to the trailhead I have to pedal 3.5 miles, mostly uphill, to the uppermost part of the large campground.

It was a warm and sunny morning. I was plenty warm by the time I got to the trailhead at 10 AM. And the trail is uphill all the way to the palm canyon. 1.5 miles, ascending about 500 feet.

No sign of palm trees at the Palm Canyon trailhead.
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I took a better picture of this Ocotillo when I was here in 2012.
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I saw only a handful of people on the trail. The trail was much less busy than the nature trails at Joshua Tree.

Fan palms appear in the distance.
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The trail now has more signs than it had in 2012. Most of the new signs tell hikers to stay on the trail to avoid causing damage to surrounding vegetation.

The creek is dry now. It had water when I was here in 2012 two days after a winter storm passed through.
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The creek was flowing when I hiked this trail on Feb.29, 2012. That was 2 days after a winter storm brought rain and snow to the mountains above. It didn't occur to me then that the creek is dry most of the time.

The creek had water during my previous visit in 2012.
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Dry creek or not, the fan palms beckon ahead. And the shade will be welcome.

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To get to the biggest grove of palms I had to walk across a small area that had standing water on the surface. It was the only water I saw during the hike. The area was swarming with insects but they ignored me when I walked through.

The only water on the surface now was about 1 inch deep in a small area near the big palms.
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I took a long rest under the canopy of the fan palms. The temperature was much cooler there.

Looking straight up inside the grove of large palms.
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The hike back to the trailhead was downhill all the way, descending about 500 feet.

Looking out of the palm canyon.
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Emerging from the canyon with a view of Borrego Springs 500 feet below.
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Back to the trailhead at noon, I was happy to see a water faucet because I was out of water.

The ride back to Borrego Springs was mostly downhill. After lunch I planned to take a short nap, then pedal north of town to see the metal sculptures. I went to bed at 1:41 and slept until 5:27 PM, shortly before sunset. No sculptures today, but I needed the rest.

Tomorrow will be a challenging day. I need to start well rested.

Borrego Springs was surprisingly uncrowded. It's a Thursday night and apparently the winter tourist season is only just getting started. The only crowded place was Harlee's restaurant. It seems to get more business than all the other restaurants combined.

Two doors away from my motel room is an old gentleman who drove in from Arizona with a tricked out Bacchetta racing bike. Tonight both of the occupied motel rooms at Hacienda del Sol have a Bacchetta recumbent bike inside.

I heard about two upcoming activities this weekend. A bike race (why the other Bacchetta is here) and Canadian Jumpers skydiving club is in town.

Distance: 7.5 mi. (12 km)
Climbing: 379 ft. (115 m)
Average Speed: 9.3 mph (14.9 km/h)
Hiking: 3 mi. (4.8 km)

Today's ride: 8 miles (13 km)
Total: 191 miles (307 km)

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