Here's a look at what we did during our final week in Desert Hot Springs:
First, there was a 6 mile hike at Whitewater Preserve, former site of a fish hatchery. The Whitewater River was flowing, small at this time of year of course, but a welcome sight in the dry canyon. Bear and Big Horn Sheep had been spotted here in September, though we did not happen to see any on this day. We just hiked a few miles up the Pacific Crest Trail before turning around and picking our way down the river bed on our return. One of the nicest things about this Preserve is the lovely picnic area at the trailhead.
|The picnic area sits alongside the old fish hatchery ponds...which have some large trout in them.|
|The Whitewater River is currently tiny in its vast flood plain.|
The Pacific Crest Trail skirts the edge of the flood plain, then crosses the river and makes its way into a side canyon.
We also returned to Joshua Tree National Park and hiked the same trail we'd hiked a few weeks earlier, just in reverse.
|Gotta love hiking among big old piled up rocks!|
One of the most fun things we've done in the past week is learn to play Pickleball with Sharon and Cliff when they stayed at Sky Valley Resort just down the road from us. It's a fast paced cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong, and pretty easy to learn. We played together several times and I can officially say I am hooked on this game! We just may seek out RV parks with pickleball courts in the future.
|Hans and Lisa with Pickleball "Pros" Sharon and Cliff.|
Lots of good times shared with these two, we look forward to hooking up again next year...somewhere!
We spent a month at Sam's Family Spa because the monthly rate was MUCH better than the daily or weekly rate ($540/month, plus electric). You choose your site from any that are available, then go settle up with the office. Arriving in mid October there were lots of sites to choose from. Even now, as we leave a week before Thanksgiving, there are plenty of available sites. We chose site 168, a corner, pie-shaped site, that gave us shade all day on our patio and plenty of room for Rosie to roam on her leash. The only drawback to this site was some traffic noise from the nearby intersection of Dillon and Bennett Roads.
Sam's is rustic. Sites are sandy dirt with a cement pad and picnic table, most are fairly close together. There is a large, inexpensive laundry on site. Half of the property is RV sites, half is mobile homes.
The real draw here are the pools. The pool complex is lush and lovely, with a lagoon full of fish and birds. Four mineral fed hot pools of increasing heat, NO chlorine, emptied each night. Plus two cooler pools with just a touch of chlorine, you don't even notice it. The mineral pool water is recycled into the lagoon and landscaping. Locals told us this pool system has the least chlorine of all the spas in the area. There are also steam rooms and a sauna.
Any time we stay at a park for a month we like to have good walking/hiking from the RV park. From Sam's you can walk into the desert right across the street or from the end of Bennett Road. Just beyond a few houses it's pretty much open desert, go as far as you want as long as you avoid obvious private property. That said, the desert here is not nearly as pretty as the Sonoran desert, for example.
Thanks to our friends Cliff and Sharon, we got to tour two other nearby parks: Caliente Springs and Sky Valley. These are sister parks that share amenities. They have nice pool complexes and other amenities such as a small golf course and pickleball courts. Both of these parks are more expensive than Sam's, but do offer more amenities. We just might try Sky Valley next time we're in the area...it's got pickleball! These two resorts participate in Passport America so you can get a really good rate for a shorter stay.
|Site 168 is a large pie-shaped site with terrific shade.|
|If you feed the fish and birds at the lagoon you just might get to see a heron catch a fish!|
This guy caught a very large fish and actually swallowed the whole thing!
Here's our last desert sunset for a while. Tomorrow we continue on South; next stop: Lake Skinner County Park.