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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Late Fall in the Desert

Our 3-day visit to the desert started out brilliantly! We took our preferred Palms to Pines route to the Coachella Valley and stopped at the overlook on Highway 74. Sophia stepped over the low wall to retrieve a recyclable bottle and called out to me, " Bighorn Sheep, Mom!" 

I made my way downslope to her and sure enough, right before my eyes was a pair of the magnificent animals. One looked up at me at the moment I focused my phone'so camera on it, and then I was able to capture them in a short video in my phone as they grazed on the native shrubbery. I have been visiting the Sonoran Desert for over 30 years and have never seen a Bighorn in the wild, despite countless hikes off the beaten track, and here were two of them, between ribbons of busy highway!

We shared our find with a couple of other travelers who were taking in the view from above. They scrambled down to meet us and we're thrilled at the sight of the pair of sheep making their way across the slope. Once the sheep were out of sight we filled a bag with recyclables then drove the rest of the way down to the desert floor. 

We made a quick stop at the Visitor Center then continued to our first destination, The Living Desert. We ate lunch there, let some goats, fed a giraffe, and saw many desert animals from around the globe. They had a new female Endangered Mexican Wolf that was recently introduced to her potential mate and we watched her explore her new habitat and chase the male around while whimpering.

We checked into the Welk Resort around 4:00 and Sophia went for a swim before dinner. What a dinner it was! I researched vegan restaurants in he area online before we came. The first one on my list was India Oven. It was a small, clean, place with a menu to satisfy everyone. We opted for a full meal platter to share, plus an order of vegetable pakora and channa masala. The platter consisted of a large samosa, basmati rice, garlic naan, Indian pickle, daal maharani, kidney beans and bell peppers..all. Old and delicious. I asked for the channa masala medium, but that was a mistake. It was much too hot for Sophia--it tasted sweet and delicious and then suddenly--I WAS BREATHING ACTUAL FIRE. we left feeling very full.

Back at the condo we watched Guardians of the Galaxy, then hit the sack early. 

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