I again found myself roaming the lonely roads of the California desert “outback” with my husband in search of, well, something. He is a dedicated explorer with an enthusiasm that is addicting so I packed myself into our car, adjusted the air vents so that I was in-line for a continual cool breeze, and off we went…’Mr. Inquisitive’ and his plus one.
Coming from Finland, I guess the desert topography would be a continual source of wonder for my husband who quickly spotted a large palm grove set in the middle of the wide open desert. The hunt was now on to discover the “what”, “why”, and “where” of this seeming oasis.
Turns out it was/is the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve created to protect the threatened reptile known as the Coachella Valley Uma inornata or the fringe-toed lizard (I think one of my brothers used to lovingly call me that as a kid) and is over 880 acres in size. The grounds are filled with various hiking trails for all levels of hikers — one leading to a natural pond. They even have some designated horse trails. Picnic tables are also available but they ask whatever you bring in, you also take out with you. I found one of the most fun things was wandering below the canopy of palm trees which took me through a wetland of creeks and seeps.
Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, located in the northern edge of the Indio Hills that is part of the Coachella Valley, was such a pleasant discovery. It really is a remarkable place and not too well known. You can find out more about it, and when to visit, on their website, www.coachellavalleypreserve.org.