Not expected, but dealing with it

For travelers who check weather conditions, southern California can generally be counted on for dry and sunny weather at this time of year. On our drive from the Bay Area down to the desert, we passed through high wind, threatening rain, and an area damaged by a recent forest fire.

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The skeleton trees stood out in a landscape almost disappeared by low clouds.

Well, we reminded ourselves, the weather would be sunny and dry when we reached the desert.

The scene from the door of our rental in Palm Springs. Instead of blue skies we had gray. Instead of clear skies we had clouds.

The scene from the door of our rental in Palm Springs. Instead of blue skies we had gray. Instead of clear skies we had clouds.

A few days of heavy rain followed. What has happened to our dry, arid desert?   On the first good day after the rains, we ventured out for a walk at Araby wash. A wash is an area where water spills down from the mountains and rushes through the low desert. We headed for a trail on the levee built to hold back the floodwaters crossing Araby Road when it rains heavily. The many times we’ve walked on this trail, the desert has been bone-dry, and we’ve enjoyed seeing birds or spotting rabbits in the wash, not water.

Up until now, we’ve never seen even a drop of rain in the wash. Now the water was flowing.

Up until now, we’ve never seen even a drop of rain in the wash. Now the water was flowing.

The glorious mountains ahead vied for our attentions. As we walked further and looked down at the wash, we were surprised when the water seemed to have disappeared.

The glorious mountains ahead vied for our attentions. As we walked further and looked down at the wash, we were surprised when the water seemed to have disappeared.

We climbed down from the levee and walked into the wash. There were so many birds we just stood still and put up our binoculars: American kestrel, white-crowned sparrows, Say’s phoebes, Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds, cactus wren.  

We climbed down from the levee and walked into the wash. There were so many birds we just stood still and put up our binoculars: American kestrel, white-crowned sparrows, Say’s phoebes, Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds, cactus wren.

We finally walked across the wash to discover that fast-moving water at the base of the mountain rushed by on the far side of the wash, not visible from the levee.

When we climbed back up on to the levee, the view north showed what had happened to all that rain in the high mountains: snow!

When we climbed back up on to the levee, the view north showed what had happened to all that rain in the high mountains: snow!

A day or two later more snow and rain came. The desert is greener than we’ve ever seen it, but the price to pay for us is that the warm sun has stayed hidden for more days than we’d like. Ah, well, a small price to pay to pull California out of its critical drought condition.

 

January 2017

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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9 Responses to Not expected, but dealing with it

  1. Betsy Eggers says:

    Ha! I learned about the desert wash on a CSI TV show once. The investigators found a dead woman in the desert who had drowned “somewhere else” and been taken to the desert. No sign of car tracks, though. Eventually, they tested her lungs and realized she was drowned in the flash flood that occurred and was now totally gone. Hey — don’t judge me for viewing trashy shows! Watching CSI is better than the news these days… Lord have mercy! Sending more $$ to FCNL! Love & Miss you!

  2. David Mog says:

    Dear Joe and Beth – Greetings from ularu in the Australian Outback where it’s green as Oregon and we have to skip the pool for a thunderstorm!!

    The ROCK at sunset was glorious.

    Love and Peace,

    David and Gloria

  3. Hope your weather starts to improve soon but in the meantime enjoy the changed environment it is creating. Every. cloud has a silver lining or so we are told.

  4. But what a lovely combination: desert and rain. If you stay long enough (maybe a day or two is enough time) those surprising desert wildflowers will pop up 🙂

  5. It’s amazing the difference water makes and how quickly it all greens up after rain.

  6. A Hearty Nomad says:

    Wonderful pics indeed!

  7. Halee Pagel says:

    I drove through Palm Springs a few weeks ago and I loved seeing the snow on the mountains! It was chilly though.

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