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.
Pickleball! I have seen those courts at FL RV parks but never tried it. It looked like you are enjoying that fast paced game which I think is a good workout.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the review, we will try this park once we get back to CA.
That's a great shot of a CA desert sunset.
Pickleball is both fun and a terrific workout! We Love it!Delete
What a beautiful month in the desert. I have driven by Whitewater many times and never stopped. Thanks for the pictures of what I missed. BTW, that pickle ball looks like a fun game.ReplyDelete
Give Pickleball a try if you have a chance!Delete
We loved hiking in Joshua…got to get back there this year.ReplyDelete
travel safe and well,
Box Canyon Mark
I'd like to stay closer to the Park to explore it more...we hadn't been there for years and it deserves more time!Delete
I've always wondered what pickleball was! Maybe we'll have to find a court in Florida and try it out. Glad you made it to Whitewater Canyon. That was one of our favorite hikes when we were in the area.ReplyDelete
Sit and watch the game for a while and try to hook up with someone who will be happy to teach you. We learned quickly from our friends and by the second day were joining in whenever a spot opened up with others on the court. Lots of friendly folks on the courts that love to share the game with newcomers!Delete
That Whitewater basin is pretty amazing when there's lots of water rushing through it - but it's still very pretty when there's just a trickle :-) Pickleball sounds like great fun and exercise. You have to love a couple with matching knee braces! I know I keep saying this, but really it is hard to believe you've been there a month already.....thanks for making the time fly by for me!! Wonderful pics of one of my favorite areas.ReplyDelete
I would love to see Whitewater when it's flowing like crazy! I know we've driven down the highway and seen large quantities of water going through there before.Delete
Whitewater Canyon looks beautiful -- definitely a place we would enjoy. Those hot pools at Sam's are sounding mighty appealing right now -- the temperatures are dropping here in Ashland, although we're still getting plenty of sunshine. It's been a long and beautiful autumn. We're making our plans to head south just after New Year's -- I just made reservations at Anza Borrego for late February. Maybe we'll get to see you yet! :-)ReplyDelete
Anza Borrego is a place we need to get to with the RV. I haven't camped out there since I was a kid, living in San Diego we just took day trips.ReplyDelete
When we leave SD in early Feb, we're heading straight to TX for an extended stay.
Boy, that first photo doesn't give any hint of the desert...beautiful!!ReplyDelete
That area of Joshua Tree is so neat with all those cool rocks. We didn't hike it but were out in the Jeep.
Glad you discovered a new activity! We haven't tried it yet. John use to be an avid tennis player. Maybe you can teach us:)
We'd love to teach you, just have to find some public courts! (with gear, we don't own rackets...yet.)Delete
I've heard of Sam's from others and always wanted to go there. What a great rate for a month. Both Whitewater Preserve and Joshua Tree look like wonderful places to hike and spend time. What a perfect closing picture to end your month. Safe travels!ReplyDelete
I can't believe you've been there a month already! I am looking forward to seeing where you go next.ReplyDelete
Bummer our we missed paths by just a day.... but bonus for us, we were able to snag your site :) Enjoy your time in SD, it's been way too long since we've visited.ReplyDelete