Palm Canyon

Approximately 20 miles south of Q on Hwy 95 in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge lies a canyon within the barren volcanic Kofa Mountain Range. Tucked away in this canyon are a grove of California fan palms the why and how of how they got there unknown, but speculation abounds and has over the years since they were discovered.

The boys and I head out in the late afternoon to drive to the refuge with the intent of staying the night and taking the short half-mile hike up to the palms the next day. The sun only shines in the canyon slot for a very brief time, and probably less this time of the year with the sun farther south. Photography requires light, so this is important.

It’s about 7 miles of pretty decent dirt road to reach the parking lot situated just below the trail head. The mountain looms upward dwarfing the lot and the vehicles parked there.  We are one of three who decide to go ahead a stay in the parking lot and wait for morning.

View from trail with van in prking lot ...

A bitter wind is whipping itself into a frenzy and it’s darn cold when the inevitable walk is needed for the boys to hike a leg. We don’t dilly dally around; it’s down to business and we scurry back inside.

The inside of the van is unheated, but comfy and warm enough as we snuggle under the covers listening to the wind poke and prod at the mountain and the van, sounding angry over something, voicing its mournful objections. It makes me sad, and my mind wanders to Burger. I miss my  Boo. I try to imagine him running in a field of green, happy and well … fortunately sleep comes fairly quickly.

Morning dawns bright and clear, and although still on the cold side, the wind has moved on. Coffee, another chapter in my book, a walk around the parking lot for the dogs, and  then a bit of breakfast while we await the sun to get a bit higher and the air a little warmer before we head out.  I check over my camera, make sure I have bags in my pocket for dog droppings, and we’re ready to go.

It’s a short hike, but it’s not a level hike. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but the trail does climb a bit, and there are a few places where it’s a bit tricky to navigate, especially with two dogs on leash who have their own idea of which way is the best way to go.

The palms are across a ravine from the trail, tucked away between the small canyon’s wall, protected from the elements.  The conditions surely must be perfectly right for them to continue to thrive and grow here.

You can read more about these palm trees HERE.

I decide to spend an additional night within the refuge enjoying the cholla (pronounced choy-ya) cactus, the saguaros and other desert plants that look fresh and clean without the coating of dust that covers most of the Sonoran Desert.  I spend the afternoon picking out things in the mountain range where the palm trees hide.  A mole, a seal, a monster, a snake’s head. Can you see them? Click the photo to enlarge.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs. Hugs, Shawna

CAMPING:  You can camp within the refuge, free, for up to 14 days.  This is a boondocking area and there are NO amenities whatsoever. Come prepared for that if you plan on staying more than a night or two. There is  a narrow strip along the main dirt road where you can pull off to park. with signs telling you where the boundaries are. 

 

Roseburg, Oregon Continued. . .

Sunday was a rainy day and the boys and I stayed snuggled in the van for a good portion of the morning. Coffee, snuggly pups, and a good book!  After a leisurely breakfast,  Frannie and I spent most of the rest of that lazy Sunday chatting the day away, taking the restless dogs for many, many walks, and watching a movie.  It’s a good friend who will take one of your dogs on so many walks and subject herself to all his idiosyncrasies and penchant for pulling like he thinks you could never possibly walk fast enough.  Thanks Frannie!  Burger loves you and I am endlessly grateful.

Monday was fairly nice and we drove up the Umpqua River, again on Hwy 138 (Diamond Lake Hwy), but heading east this time.  We stopped at one section where Francesca has done some SCUBA diving and found this memorial.  Something terrible happened here.  It was obvious this man was well-loved and will be missed.

                                          The river is so low!

We motored on and took a hike up to Fall Creek Falls.  Oh. My. Gosh.  GORGEOUS hike on an easy trail (except for the dogs pulling like sled dogs 🙂 .  It was cool, damp, and everything was green. I could just picture the wood fairies scampering among the ferns.  The falls was beautiful too, but with much less water than normal, so it’s potential for spectacular will increase with an end to the drought.  A lot of the boulder strewn creek bed (BIG BOULDERS) was dry in places, but it was obvious that in a normal year there is a lot of water fighting for space there.

This photo below had us thinking about the Cascadian Fault (read about it HERE) and the fact it’s 50 years past it’s “due date” for a major earthquake.  If you read up on that, the potential for a catastrophic event that would devastate everything west of I-5 along Washington, Oregon, and part of California could happen at any time. 

Yes, the trail goes through these rocks.
 
 

Imagine the falls with maximum water plunging over the edge. 
 

On the ride back toward Roseburg, we made a quick stop at Colliding Rivers, where a river on the left, Little River, “collides” with the River on the right, the North Umpqua.  These photos do not do this place justice.   In the flood of 1964 the water here was FIVE FEET ABOVE the railing from which I took these photos.  It’s quite a ways down to the water…….. mind blowing.

 

It was a wonderful visit with a wonderful friend–and long overdue–and I truly hated to face having to come home.  I keep chanting to myself ‘one more year, one more year’ until the day the boys and I can take off on our traveling adventure full time.  I don’t like to wish the time away but………..

I mentioned at the beginning of this post about kicking back and doing some reading on Sunday morning.  Finishing the last book in Jane Kirkpatrick’s Kinship and Courage series leaves me with the question of what to do with these three books.  Yes, I could give them to the local library as I have done with many of my books, but I thought it might be nice to give them to one of you.  If you want these books please comment that you would like them and the first one to respond will get them.  We’ll work out the details of getting them to you later and keep your information private.  Here’s a synopsis of the books:

Published in early 2000, these books are historical fiction based on the true story of 12 pioneer women who lost their husbands to cholera and faced the 1800’s frontier on their own.  Their journey takes them from a wagon train heading west to California where some settle and some move on.  I particularly loved these books as the second and third in the series takes place in my own county, Shasta, and gives a good portrait of life in the mid 1850s town of what is now Old Shasta.  The third book takes place in both Old Shasta, south to Sacramento, and north to Jacksonville, Oregon.  Jane Kirkpatrick is an extremely talented writer. 

Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.  Until next time, Shawna