Tag Archives: Palm Springs

Keys View in Joshua Tree

IMG_8973Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park is a quick stop that everyone should check out. While it’s not the closest to everything else in the park, it  is definitely worth the drive. Turn south off the main east-west road, out past Lost Horse Mine and to the end of the road. You will literally drive right into Keys View. It has ample parking and a restroom for you to enjoy your stop whether you only plan to stay for a few minutes or a few hours.

Keys View overlooks 50 miles of the Coachella Valley it’s gorgeous whether you are visiting at sunrise, midday, or sunset. From the overlook, you can see a few cities and landmarks. The main ones are the Salton Sea which is to the southeast 35 miles away and 235 feet below sea level. Moving west across the view is the Signal Mountain 95 miles away near the U.S.-Mexican border. Continuing further west is Indio, directly south and the center of the upper Coachella Valley. Next, to the southwest is Palm Springs followed by the Gorgonio Pass where the smog-filled air comes into Coachella Valley from southern California. Last is the San Gorgonio Mountain, the tallest point in southern California.

Keys View has a short .25 mile nature trail that loops from the parking area to the top of the valley and back with a couple of amazing views along the way. Stay for as long as or short of a time as you wish. I actually went twice while I was at Joshua Tree National Park. Once at sunset and once during midday. Both times the view was absolutely beautiful. During the day time I could see all the way to Signal Mountain and could even make out the Salton Sea it was so clear. In the evening the haze had rolled in adding depth and different colors to an already breathtaking sunset. As the sunset further the cities began to light up. It was easy to make out which was which.

Discovering The Frank Bogert Trail

IMG_8973My friend and I were searching for a second hike to explore in Palm Springs, but it was getting late. We headed over to Indian Canyons in hopes of being able to check it out before they closed. Unfortunately  the main gate was already closed and we couldn’t get in. I had thought I had seen a sign off the road on the way there for another hike. We drove back to the sign and turned down the road. Far through a very rich neighborhood we eventually came across Frank Bogert Trail. Not exactly what I thought would be there, but still a hike, we were a little unsure if we really wanted to check it out. We took a moment to google it a bit and found out that it’s really nothing special, but leads eight other trails in the area. Since we couldn’t find any other hikes that were still open in the area we decided to give it a try knowing that we wouldn’t have much time to explore.

We started out at the trailhead and made our way up a gradual incline. The trail looks just like any other desert trail, golden dirt with sparse dry bushes all long the ridges. There were dark rust colored rocks stacked upon one another and we noticed a bird perched on top taking in the last sunlight of the day.  Following the path a little further we came across a fork in the road. Left or right? We chose left and headed down and out to a beautiful overlook. You could see the rich neighborhood below, a vibrant green patch of life surrounded by dry brown mountains on all sides. It looked like the neighborhood was misplaced.

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We continued to explore the area finding small cacti in full bloom, climbing rocks as high as we could go and making our own paths through the area. As we climbed some rocks you could see and feel little stones tiny pebbles about the size of a pencil tip break off with each touch. I took a moment to investigate them and found a tiny flower. Interesting how from a distance things can get over seen. We wouldn’t even have noticed it if we hadn’t of climbed the area and been right on top of it. Sometimes you have to get up close and personal to see the real amazing things.

The sun started to set and we decided to head back to the car. We never did find the other trails that Frank Bogert Trail is supposed to connect to, but I’m sure they are there. We didn’t get very far down the trail before we stopped to explore our overlook. So next time you’re in the area and every other trail is closed or you want to find the eight other trails give Frank Bogert Trail a try. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain here.

Jus Another Froyo Place

IMG_8971Jus Chillin is frozen yogurt shop located in Palm Springs. It is super cute inside with candy at the front counter, different flavors of frozen yogurt to choose from, and many toppings. Basically, it’s the same as any other froyo place I’ve been. Pick out your flavor, pick out your amount, pick out your toppings and weigh and pay. The only difference is the seats are there are much more relaxing. You can watch TV and be, well, Jus Chillin.

When we went they were playing America’s Funniest Videos on their TV. I love that show. It’s still just as funny as it always has been. The employee was super nice as well. He was happy to be working there and made the experience even better. I honestly don’t even remember what kind of froyo I got, but I remember thinking that it tasted just as sweet as anywhere else. If you are in Palm Springs and it’s a hot day, stop by and check them out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain here.

Delicious Alicante

IMG_8973After our amazing hike at Tahquitz Canyon Trail in Palm Springs we headed back into town for a small bite to eat. We walked down the strip and came across Alicante. The place was quite small with an outside patio and an inside seating area and bar. It was happy hour and there were a lot of deals for us to take advantage of as long as we sat inside.

I ordered the baby octopus tapas, $4 each, and a margarita pizza, $7. The pizza was great and the octopus was amazing, absolutely delicious. Cooked perfectly, which is hard to come by. It was the perfect amount of food for an after hike meal too. Definitely worth the price and possibly the best spot we ate at all weekend. Next time you’re in Palm Springs you should check it out.

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Ralph’s Tahquitz Canyon Guided Hike Part 1

IMG_8973A little birdie told me that one of the best hikes in Palm Springs is through Tahquitz Canyon to the 60 foot waterfall. Since we had a day to spare after our Dinah experience we decided to check it out. After doing a little research, we decided to take a guided tour with a ranger for just $12 and it was one of the best hiking experiences I have ever had. There’s just so much history there.

We made a reservation and arrived at noon, the days hottest time of the day but the weather was perfect for hiking. We met up with Ranger Ralph and started with a short video to learn all about Tahquitz Canyon, who lived there, why it was called that, other historical events that happened in the canyon and what to expect on our hike.

Tahquitz Canyon is named after the first shaman created by Mukat, Tahquitz. In the beginning he used his power for the good of all people and became the guardian spirit of all shamans. Then Tahquitz began to use his power for selfish reasons. He started to use his power to harm the Cahuilla People. The people became angry and banished Tahquitz to the canyon. He now lives high in the San Jacinto Mountains in a secret cave below the towering rock known as Tahquitz Peak.

Today, the Agua Caliente Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah) Indians believe that his spirit still lives in the canyon. It is said that he can sometimes be seen as a large green fireball streaking across the night sky and is the cause of the strange rumblings heard deep within the San Jacinto Mountains. They tell their children stories about seeing him on the mountain peaks. If you see him you should scream to scare him away because he is there ready to take the soul of someone below.

After hearing that terrifying story we were a little uncertain of going on the hike, but Ranger Ralph wouldn’t let anything happen to us. We started our trek and our first stop was at the mouth of the canyon, named Kakwawit, to learn about Palm Springs and how travelers used to use the hot spring as a bathing stop along their desert journey. Today the hot springs are located under one of the casino and spa resorts. Next time you head to Palm Springs look for the tall yellow resort and you might have just found the spot of the original springs.

We continued our hike along a dirt path and into the canyon stopping along the way to learn about the different plants. The main one Ranger Ralph spoke to us about was the mesquite tree. It was  the most commonly used plant by the Cahuilla Indians and was even an abundant food source. Mistletoe can sometimes be found within the branches. It kills the mesquite, but the Cahuilla Indians had a use for that too. They would crush it to create dyes for there clothing and paintings.

We moved a short distance by the path and Ranger Ralph spoke to us about the river that currently runs through the canyon. Today, the river looks like more of a stream. The water comes from the snow on the mountains and runs all the way to the valley below. Many years ago, the river was much higher. The water would wash away the bacteria the grows on the rocks giving them their rust coloration. As you look around the canyon, the change in color on the rocks show you were the river once ran through the canyon.

We made a stop at Sacred Rock, one of the oldest Cahuilla village sites, where many rock mortars and a pictograph can be found. In the 1960’s the canyon  was in pristine condition. In 1969 many people came to the area for a concert by the band Canned Heat. More than 1,000 fans moved into the canyon and for some reason they decided to never go home. The hippies, hermits, and homeless just kept coming. They lived in the rock shelters scattered throughout the canyon and made a complete mess which led the Cahuilla Indians to decide to close to the public the space they consider sacred. In 1997 the tribe came through and evicted all the squatters in an attempt to clean the area and bring the canyon back to it’s original condition. While cleaning the graffiti off the Sacred Rock they realized there was a pictograph underneath. Once they noticed they were extremely careful not to wash away anymore of the figure, but that was difficult. It is hard to make out, but if you look closely enough you will see a stick figure with it’s hands above it’s head and some diamond shapes in a line off to the side.

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Our trek continued and we crossed the river over the cutest little rock bridge! A little further and we came upon the White Tree Pool (I think that’s the name). I thought back to the movie we had watched and realized that this was the place that they told the story of how Tahquitz came down from the canyon and stole one of the Cahuilla Indian women. He kept her in his cave for a few years and the people thought they would never see her again. Tahquitz realized that she was depressed and missed her family so he allowed her to return on one condition, that she never tell anyone what happened to her. She agreed and he let her go home, but the village people would not stop asking her about what happened. Eventually she gave in and told them the story about where she had been. That night she died as Tahquitz had told her would happen.

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Ranger Ralph gave us additional information about the White Tree Pool. He told that in the beginning of 2013 the pool was 30 ft deep and crystal clear, but there was a fire at the top of the canyon that year. After they were finally able to put the fire out the ash settled in the canyon. As the river runs through, the ash gets washed down into the canyon we were hiking in that day. Unfortunately the White Tree Pool has been filled with soot and ash making the water cloudy and filling the pool so much that it’s new depth is only a few feet deep.

The next stop on our journey was at an old irrigation system originally made in 1830. The Cahuillan people used this to bring water from the canyon to their village for drinking and irrigation. At some point, possibly the early 1900’s, the irrigation system was upgraded with steel pipes brought into the canyon in sections and welded together. Today the system is no longer in use, but it’s fun to think about how it would have worked and how they would have gotten the materials there.

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A quick stop just a few feet farther is a U.S. Geological Survey Gaging Station. This station was built in 1947 and is still being used today. The USGS monitors the water flow of the river, keeping a daily record.

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To be continued…

Elmer’s German Pancakes

IMG_8973Our last morning in Palm Springs and once again it was time to eat. We scanned through yelp and realized that not many places are open early Monday morning in Palm Springs. We decided to try Elmer’s.

Elmer’s was founded in 1960 by Walt and Dorothy Elmer making breakfast for their customers. They originally named their restaurant Elmer’s Colonial Pancake House but their mission has always been the same, “provide quality food ingredients, gracious service and the clean surroundings that make you feel at home.”

Today, Elmer’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We were there for breakfast and were eager to try their food. Rumor has it that Walt used to keep his pancake recipe locked in his safe so the only logical choice was to try the german pancakes. I ordered them with mixed berries and a side of bacon and eggs.

When they came I was super excited. I took my first bite and they were delicious. Light, fluffy, sweet and exactly what I expected even though I had never tried german pancakes before. The eggs and bacon were perfect too. They definitely gave me way more food than I needed, but everything was amazing. An excellent breakfast to start what was planned out to be another sensational day.

The Grind Brger Bar

IMG_8971After The Dinah Sunday Pool Party my friend and I were starving! We started our trek back to the hotel and spotted a little burger place that we couldn’t pass by, Grind Burger Bar. It is located on the main strip, above The Chop House, and has great reviews on yelp so we climbed the stairs that put us into the dinning room. Choosing between an inside bar and outside deck, we sat right next to the fire pit on the outside patio.

The waitress came with our menus and asked us how are day was. We told her about the pool party and then took a look at the menu. It was so hard to decide, but eventually I decided to give the Hawaiian Burger with teriyaki sauce, pineapple, bacon and spam on pretzel bun on try. I had seen a picture on yelp and it looked amazing. My only concern was that I wasn’t sure if I liked spam or not since I had never tried it. We also got a side of garlic fries to go with our burgers and waited for our meal.

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Our burgers came and they looked delicious. I took my first bite and was in heaven. It was too good for words. However, as I continued to eat the burger the spam seemed to get saltier and saltier by the bite. About half way through I decided to remove it. My burger had gotten extremely messy, but it was worth it. The garlic fries were good too, but I realized that I’m not a huge fan of them. We left a lot behind, mainly due to the enormous size of our burgers. There was just no way we would have finished the fries as well.

If you’re ever in Palm Springs you should give Grind Burger Bar a try. They aren’t skimpy on the meal sizes which is nice. I dare you to try the Hawaiian Burger with spam. If you can finish the whole thing without removing some of the spam I will be in awe.

Pool Party at The Dinah

IMG_8973My friend and I woke up in Palm Springs after a long night of partying. We prepared to go to The Dinah Sunday Pool Party trying to remember to bring exactly what we would need but careful not to over pack. We decided on bathing suits, towels, credit cards, cash, sunglasses and sunscreen, the bare necessities, and started our short walk to the Hilton Hotel.

We arrived at the hotel and made our way through security. The pool was a lot smaller than anticipated and the party was packed. We walked around a bit taking in the scene. They had a bunch of vendors selling Dinah merchandise all around the outer edge as well as drinks and food. Inside the pool area was DJ MaryMac starting out the day with some music and some dancers on some high posts encouraging the crowd to join in. There were women laying out in the sun soaking up rays, playing in the pool, dancing and walking all around.

We picked a spot along the edge of the wall, far enough away from the pool that our stuff would stay safe and dry. We wanted to go in the water so we sat at the edge of one of the jacuzzis. Luckily it was not turned on. Some other ladies joined us and we enjoyed a little game of beach ball toss to get us all in the party mood.

DJ MaryMac was replaced by DJ Ashton, who did an amazing job! Music played throughout the day and we moved to the bigger pool which was a little cooler and more fun.  From the pool we watched the American soul and R&B group Rose Royce sing a few of their 1970’s hit songs, “Car Wash” and “I Wanna Get Next to You.” We all sang along.

Then the party was given back to DJ Ashton who kept up with some pumping beats for the rest of the afternoon. We danced until the party ended and we were asked to leave the hotel. What a spectacular day! So much fun in the sun. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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Great Shakes in Palm Springs

IMG_8971Driving through Palm Springs I couldn’t help but feel drawn to this little local milkshake, malt and float shop called Great Shakes. After a crazy night of great music and dancing it was number one on my list of things to do. We took a walk into town on our way to the Dinah Shore Sunday Pool Party and stopped for breakfast.

We walked in and this place just screamed fun. They had music from the 1950’s and 60’s playing and we bopped to the music as we reviewed the menu, choose between their hand-made milkshakes, malts and floats, and waited to place our orders. I decided to try the Strawberry Fudge Shake.

Once our orders were taken they started to make our shakes right in front of us, blending in all the gourmet and fresh toppings. As we waited I explored their shop a bit. In front they have a bunch of old uncommon candies that you rarely find in other ice cream shops. To the side they have a huge poster that explained the history of candy. I learned that the first candy was created in 1842 by a 19-year old named Stephen F. Whitman. Yes, Whitman’s candies were the first. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars were introduced in 1900’s and Snickers, one of my favorites, were introduced in 1930’s.

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They brought my shake to the table complete with strawberry slices, chocolate sauce, and a little mini-donut wrapped around the straw. I took my first sip and it was absolutely delicious! Just the right amount of strawberry and chocolate. A perfect breakfast and one of the best shakes I have ever had.

The shop has only been in Palm Springs for about 2 years, but they sure do make a Great Shake. It’s definitely a stop you want to make next time you’re in town.

Bebe Rexha at The Black Party

IMG_8973My Palm Springs adventure was The Dinah Shore Weekend 2015. The Dinah is considered the largest lesbian event in the world, created by Mariah Hanson in 1991. It is where entire hotels are booked to capacity with 100% lesbian visitors from all over the world and national sponsors such as Bacardi, Bud Light, Curve, and Orbitz and national recording artists keep the parties going all day and night. All of the events are kept within walking distance and you can be completely immersed in art and music for an entire weekend starting on Wednesday evening and ending Sunday evening.

We had our tickets purchased, our outfits on, and were set to live this once in a lifetime experience starting with The Black Party. We walked the short trek to the Palm Springs Convention Center and stood in an extremely short line at the will call. Turns out most people had gotten there before Saturday night and already received all of their bracelets for the weekend. We quickly got our wrist bracelets, one for The Black Party and one for The Pool Party and headed into the party.

We were very early and there weren’t many people there yet. We got our drink tickets and then headed to the bar, which was super crowded. There were pool tables and foosball tables that women were playing at and a huge couch that others were relaxing on. A few minutes later the doors to the main dance floor opened and people started to disperse from the waiting area.

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DJ MaryMac was in charge of getting people ready to have some fun before Bebe Rexha preformed and not soon enough she was on stage. It seemed like most people didn’t know her music. The crowd was surprisingly quiet and reserved. People were still filing into the room and  as she got further into her set she started to play some songs that everyone knew. She sang Rihanna‘s “The Monster” which she is one of the writers and the original singer of. With a song everyone knew under her belt people finally started to get into it. She finished her set with “Take Me Home” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You“. She was really good and sounded amazing. I would definitely go to a different show by her. Hopefully one where more people are into the music than just going to a party that has a name. It’s got to be difficult to play at events like those.

DJ MaryMac took the stage back and played dance music throughout the night. She played all different types from oldies to new songs. She kept the crowd dancing until 3am or later though her constant shout outs to Dinah Shore’s 25th Anniversary and jump cuts of the songs with completely different beats made it difficult to dance uninterrupted. By the end of the night we were quiet comical about it and had made it into a drinking game. Every time she gave a shout out that included Dinah in it we would take a sip of our drinks. We had to stop and just raise our glasses by the end of the night or we would have been completely trashed.

We took a few breaks from dancing throughout the night and finally as the night wore down and many people began to leave we got a chance to play on one of the pool tables. We couldn’t have spent more than 3 minutes there before a security guard came over and told us to hurry up. They were closing. We finished our game within the next 2 minutes, sharking the table. Our neighbors must have been amazed at how quickly we cleared those balls off the table after our very slow start the first 3 minutes.

It was such a great night and I hope to go back next year too. Everyone should experience The Dinah Shore’s Black Party at least once in their life. Or maybe twice.