|In the tradition of other long weekends, Elizabeth and I drove to Palm Springs, over the President's Day weekend. It was a special opportunity to relax after midterms, and celebrate the ending of Elizabeth's chemo treatment. Although there was some rain, we had an excellent time lounging at the beautiful resort hotel, looking around the town, and exploring the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.|
We stayed at the sybaritic Esmeralda Resort (a Marriott property), which was located along one of the Indian Wells golf courses. (See Google Map.) The place was a bit pricey, but the service was great.
We drove up through the pouring rain on Saturday. The 10 freeway was surprisingly good, considering the conditions. On Saturday night, we ate Pieros Acqua Pazza, in Rancho Mirage's "The River" complex. It was a very busy night, and we should have made reservations. But there were several interesting stores in the outdoor complex, and the food was quite good.
On Sunday, we exploited the break in the weather by driving up the 62 to the Joshua Tree National Park. We took the West Entrance, and drove through to the south exit (at the Cottonwood Visitor Center), stopping at several places along the way.
All in all, it was a fun getaway, and I enjoyed the opportunity to spend some quality time with Elizabeth, away from the demands of work and school. It was good to see what the Palm Springs area was like, as I had only seen it from above (looking down from the local mountains).
|We had a pleasant surprise when we got back to our room, on Saturday night. The hotel staff had left four chocolate-covered strawberries for us, in honor of our special occasion. They were delicious, and one disappeared while I was pulling out the camera.|
|The view from our hotel balcony, on a bright and brisk Sunday morning. Our room faced south, and I'm not sure if that range of hills is the Santa Rosa Mountains or the San Jacinto mountains.|
|Another view from our balcony, maybe east-southeast. Palm Springs (or, in this case, Indian Wells), seems like a green oasis, at the foot of the mountains.|
|On the road to Joshua Tree, on Sunday morning. There were a number of wind turbines in operation along the 10 Freeway, and the snows of Mt San Gorgionio (elevation 11451 ft, I've been there) were partially hidden by the ominous clouds.|
|A joshua tree, along the Boy Scout Trail, in north-central Joshua Tree National Park. (See map.) The explorer John Fremont described this tree as "...the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom."|
|Although rain threatened our hike, we were untouched. The clouds made for some excellent photo opportunities, with the mix of light and shadow.|
|This area of Joshua Tree had some really great piles of rock to climb on. The rock itself felt like rough sandpaper, and my running shoes almost stuck to the surface as I clambered up this hill.|
|I believe that this is a cholla cactus.|
|How often does it rain in the desert? When it does, though, people who pay attention get to see flowers.|
|Elizabeth and I, before we left the hotel on Monday morning.|