Coachella Valley

Coachella Valley

November 26th through December 14th, 2023

We left Anaheim for the Coachella Valley -- it's where the Coachella Music Festival is held, but we weren't there during that time. It's surrounded by mountains, with Palm Springs up against one set of mountains and Desert Hot Springs (DHS) up against the set of mountains on the opposite side of the valley. We were staying in the DHS foothills, which was a 20-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs. We got settled in just before one of the most beautiful sunsets we'd seen in ages.

Allie came to stay with us for a bit, and there were lots of things to do. The first day, we were excited to check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It's the coolest thing -- it's two, big tram cars that balance each other, one on the way up and one on the way down at all times. The cars slowly spin, so you get great views of both sides without having to move around. It was very steep, and quite impressive.

When we got to the top, we wandered around a bit and then had dinner at sunset. The restaurant at the top has big, glass walls and amazing views, along with great food. Then we took the tram back down to see the city lights. It was such a fun time.

DHS is very close to Joshua Tree National Park, so that was our next day of adventuring. It's very popular, with a large expanse of land to explore. There were 4x4 trails all through it, but we didn't take the time to explore any areas off of the pavement. Instead, we drove through about two-thirds of it.

We love national parks, and we spend a lot of time visiting any that are in our area as we travel the country. This park wasn't one of our favorites, but it was still very interesting and pretty. One of the highlights was the Cholla Cactus Garden, a big area on the side of a hill that must have the exact specifications needed for happy chollas. There was a little walking path through them, and we liked the little trek we did.

Then, we drove to Cap Rock and had a picnic lunch that we'd picked up along the way, just sandwiches and chips. It was chilly out, and we weren't really dressed for it. We hurried through our lunch and hustled back to the car. It was a nice stop.

We spent some time in the town of Palm Springs, mostly downtown. They have a thriving art community, and we were looking forward to a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum. We really enjoyed all of it, especially a yellow piece with a circular indentation in gold. It looked like it was a raised dome as your eyes played tricks with you. Monica was obsessed.

We had to spend some time outside, though, so we coordinated our schedules with a ranger-led hike through the Indian Canyons and the Andreas Fault area. The ranger was very helpful, and we learned a lot about the plants in the area and its rich history. There are palms and other happy plants around some of the only water in the area -- an oasis. We finished the loop hike and were already talking about how we'd do it again on some future date.

We like botanical gardens, especially in the southwest, so we had to make a stop at the Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs. Unlike the city-run gardens we'd been to, it was a privately owned location. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best -- the cactuses weren't always the healthiest or cleanest. Margot bought a small bowl for keys and things, and we still had a nice time outdoors.

The day before Allie was leaving we wanted to hang out in Palm Springs more so we visited the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum so we could learn more about the people native to the area. It hadn't been open for long, and we could tell they spent a lot of money on it. It was very fancy, and very cool how they did the audio and visual components of the displays. We spent a bunch of time there, and then we walked across the parking lot to have a cocktail at the casino.

That night, we went to a swanky Italian restaurant in town. The food was great, and we loved the atmosphere.

Sometimes, our stay at a location ends and we're ready to move on to the next adventure. This time, we didn't want to leave. Could this be a winter destination for us in the future? Could we imagine living here? Maybe!

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