Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Willis Palms Oasis hike blog #420

Certain things have kept us from hiking much in the previous week, doctors appointments, wind and rain, but today it is too beautiful to stay indoors.
This morning we drove to the Choachella Valley Preserve to check out some palms we had seen in the distance from Thousand Palms Canyon Rd.

We chose the Willis Loop Trail which is about 4.5 miles in length and within rock throwing distance to the San Andres Fault.

Up the sand and rock wash we go...

Lucky for us there were occasional markers to keep us on course.

The loop took us up a gradual elevation change of approximately 700 feet, deep into this canyon.

Parts of the trail were blocked by an impenetrable line of rocks...apparently they really didn't want you to go down this walkway.

It's amazing to me that with the force of the wash at times, this Smoke Tree could not only get started, but grow to this size.

Carla is standing on some ancient Pliocenes fill, most likely squeezed up by the Mission Fault. The yellow dirt must be very toxic, because not a blade of grass or and other vegetation was visible.

We finally came upon the Willis Palms.
A devastating fire in 2010 burned most of the palm skirts that house many animals, including bats. The birds, mammals and vermin are working their way back.

Some of the younger palms only lost a small amount of palm skirts.

This panoramic photo tries to give a view of the hundreds of palms.

Just like in any forest fire, nature skips over some of the vegetation to use as a nursery for new growth.

At the end of our hike we were afforded a good view of the Willis Palms and San Gorgonio in the background.

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