Earth Day Volunteer Day in Angeles National Forest with Coca-Cola & the Forest Service

In celebration of Earth Day, the US Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, and the Coca-Cola Company organized a two-day event to spotlight and continue the work the three groups have been doing in the Angeles National Forest area over the last five years. They topped it all off with a volunteer work day that brought over 100 people out to clean the forest and engage with the companies on how they can do their part to help maintain its beauty. This was done in preparation for the crowds that would be coming to hike and explore the Angeles National Forest during Earth Day (which fell on the weekend).

The primary focus of the work the companies have been doing over the last five years has been to facilitate in the stewardship of water resources, as well as to remove invasive species that stop the growth of the area’s native plants. I found it fascinating to learn that over 205 acres of invasive species have already been removed, including plants like the giant cane, which absorbs more than four times the amount of water that native species do. Maintaining our water resources is of particular importance as we come out of the drought California has been in.

The invasive species concept is not something that I have thought about much before, but I believe it is a fascinating idea to help return the areas we hike in to their natural states. Here is a photo of what a before and after invasive species removal looks like.

Doing this type of work helps to facilitate the replenishment of the of water flow in a state that needs to save all the water it can. The companies working together said they had replenished nearly 300 million liters of water annually through the work they have been doing over the four years.

This project is something I can get behind and something that I hope to see large companies like Coca-Cola continue to do in the future. It is great to have small businesses like Parks Project and others supporting conservation and clean up efforts but seeing big brands like Coca-Cola committing to maintaining our natural resources can help us to make huge strides and I am encouraged by the work they and others have contributed to so far.

If you want to learn about what you can do to help with maintaining Angeles National Forest and its waterways, head over here to volunteer for work days and site visits in the coming months. Also, you can always just take a trash bag with you when you go on hikes and use it collect some of the garbage you pass by, every little bit helps. Lastly, if you want to learn more about some of my favorite spots to hike in the Angeles National Forest and around SoCal, then head over here as well.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola, but all opinions are my own. *Images and video by Coca-Cola Company.

Earth Day Volunteer Day in Angeles National Forest with Coca-Cola & the Forest Service

In celebration of Earth Day, the US Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, and the Coca-Cola Company organized a two-day event to spotlight and continue the work the three groups have been doing in the Angeles National Forest area over the last five years. They topped it all off with a volunteer work day that brought over 100 people out to clean the forest and engage with the companies on how they can do their part to help maintain its beauty. This was done in preparation for the crowds that would be coming to hike and explore the Angeles National Forest during Earth Day (which fell on the weekend).

The primary focus of the work the companies have been doing over the last five years has been to facilitate in the stewardship of water resources, as well as to remove invasive species that stop the growth of the area’s native plants. I found it fascinating to learn that over 205 acres of invasive species have already been removed, including plants like the giant cane, which absorbs more than four times the amount of water that native species do. Maintaining our water resources is of particular importance as we come out of the drought California has been in.

The invasive species concept is not something that I have thought about much before, but I believe it is a fascinating idea to help return the areas we hike in to their natural states. Here is a photo of what a before and after invasive species removal looks like.

Doing this type of work helps to facilitate the replenishment of the of water flow in a state that needs to save all the water it can. The companies working together said they had replenished nearly 300 million liters of water annually through the work they have been doing over the four years.

This project is something I can get behind and something that I hope to see large companies like Coca-Cola continue to do in the future. It is great to have small businesses like Parks Project and others supporting conservation and clean up efforts but seeing big brands like Coca-Cola committing to maintaining our natural resources can help us to make huge strides and I am encouraged by the work they and others have contributed to so far.

If you want to learn about what you can do to help with maintaining Angeles National Forest and its waterways, head over here to volunteer for work days and site visits in the coming months. Also, you can always just take a trash bag with you when you go on hikes and use it collect some of the garbage you pass by, every little bit helps. Lastly, if you want to learn more about some of my favorite spots to hike in the Angeles National Forest and around SoCal, then head over here as well.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola, but all opinions are my own. *Images and video by Coca-Cola Company.

Backpacking to the Confluence Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

Hiking the Confluence Overlook Trail in Canyonlands NP

The Confluence Overlook Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park takes you away from the crowds and through a maze of slick-rock canyons to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Trail Details
Distance: 11 miles
Time: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation gain: 50 ft
Dogs: No
When to go: Spring or Fall
I hadn’t planned to hike this trail. I had just been to Arches National Park to hike the Devil’s Garden Loop. I was slowly working my way from Wyoming, through Utah, Arizona, and back to Southern California as part of a 2,900 mile road trip last October. I knew that I wanted to do some sort of overnight backpack trip in the Needles District of Canyonlands, but wasn’t sure what or where. I showed up at the visitor center and chatted with the ranger about availability.

As it turns out, there are no established campsites along the Confluence Overlook Trail, and only one permit is issued per day for an overnight group. Because there are no established campsites, you are required to camp off-trail on slick-rock, where your impact is minimized. In other words, I would have the whole place to myself. I told her to sign me up!

Getting There

This route is in the North Needles area of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The nearest town is Moab–about 75 miles away. You’ll stop at the Needles District Visitors Center to pickup your permit–$30 at the time. Follow the main road from the visitor’s center to it’s end and you’ll be at the trailhead.

The Trail

This out-and-back route requires careful attention to cairns for navigation. The “trail” often crosses slickrock, climbs up and down improbable ledges that require some scrambling, and can be tricky to follow when you happen to miss a cairn. You could easily get lost back here if you aren’t mindful. It is a quiet, special place.

The trailhead begins just past the Slickrock Loop Trail–at the end of the paved road–and runs 5.5 miles to the edge of the canyon where you have a spectacular view of the confluence.

A large sign provides an overview of the trail and marks the start of the trail, which begins by winding down into a small canyon, following cairn to cairn. No sooner do you reach the bottom than you begin climbing, quite literally. Sections of this trail require careful hand-over-foot scrambling that make it unsuitable for small children or anyone squeamish about heights.

Trailhead sign for the Confluence Overlook Trail Descending into the first canyon

Climbing up the opposite side of the first canyon, you reach this window-like view over Canyonlands.

Here's where we are headed

The trail continues in this same manner, climbing down, across, and up out of one canyon, then another. Sometimes you’ll have a ladder to assist you. Cairns are carefully placed along the entire route to help keep you on track. In many places, the trail is difficult to see without them.

One of the sections where a ladder is really handy Look closely and you'll see the cairns Be careful not to step on the crust.

At the 1.5 mile mark, you enter a sandy wash that you follow for almost a mile before climbing again over slickrock.

Climbing up and down can be tricky. Some of the sections are steep with rock-hopping and light scrambling required. At the 4 mile mark, you reach a meadow. The trail crosses a jeep trail and continues through the meadow for a mile, reaching a junction with Cyclone Canyon Trail. Keep right to rejoin the jeep trail, which you follow to the left (west) for 1/2 mile. At the end of the jeep trail you’ll find a rare bit of shade, a pit toilet and a picnic table. And you’re almost to the overlook.

Climbing the final 1/2 mile to the overlook the terrain began to fall away and the views open up.

And finally, you find yourself standing 1,000 feet above the Colorado River.

1000' above the Colorado River Above the Colorado River

Soak in the views and the energy, and prepare for the trip back. In my case, I was going to be sleeping out here. I had to  backtrack across the jeep trail and at least another 1/2 mile past that. As there are no established campsites (thankfully!),  you find a flat space atop the slickrock where you are less likely to cause harm to the fragile environment. I ended up hiking about nine miles to a section of slickrock, then climbed up and off trail. The views extended for miles in every direction.

My "campsite"

Pitching my tent, boiling water for dinner (vegetable korma from Good To-Go; highly recommended). Watching the sun set, and the stars pop out.

I awoke before sunrise, and the sky was already light. It was cold, but not freezing, and I sat in my sleeping bag and watched the light show, purple and pink, yellow and blue hues changing by the minute.

Sunrise in Canyonlands NP Looking south to the Needles

I fired up the Jetboil and heated water for Starbucks Via and drank it all in.

The 2-mile hike back to the trailhead went quickly in the cooler morning air with a lighter pack (with less food and water).

This was a short trip as far as backpack trips go, and could have easily been hiked as a day hike. But experiencing this place in the afternoon, evening, stillness of night, and the first light of morning, was well worth the time.

Confluence Overlook Trail Map & Elevation Profile

Download

Confluence Overlook Trail Tips

  • This trail has no shade to speak of. Wear sun protection and be mindful of the weather forecast.
  • There is no water on the trail. I carried four liters, for both drinking and cooking, with another two gallons in my car.

More Canyonlands National Park Resources

Canyonlands National Park Weather Forecast

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MDT on March 17, 2017
Clear
80°/46°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MDT on March 18, 2017
Clear
83°/50°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MDT on March 19, 2017
Clear
81°/51°
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MDT on March 20, 2017
Partly Cloudy
80°/48°

The post Backpacking to the Confluence Overlook in Canyonlands National Park appeared first on SoCal Hiker.

Be Like Sam

#BeLikeSam

I’ve run into Sam a half dozen times on my trips up Baldy. Every time, he’d pester me with questions. Always in his Korean-accented English: “When you start?” “How many time you climb Baldy?” Every time, he’d smile and proudly exclaim, “I climb Baldy 100 time last year.” And every time, I’d look at his infectious smile and think, “damn, this old guy is awesome.” I’m also Korean, so it was easy to imagine him as my badass old grandfather.

I took a group of newbie hiking friends up Baldy last year and told them about him. How he’d climbed this mountain 400+ times. And that I’d see him every other time I was out here. How he was a fixture of the hiking community here in LA. We’d run into trail regulars and they’d tell me how he saw him yesterday, or last week, or earlier today. And we’d turn a corner and there he’d be, slowly walking with his big hat and trekking poles up the mountain. Climbing it for the 487th time or whatever.

I’d yell, “Hey Sam! How many times now?” And he’d smile and tell me. He was almost at 1000.

Yesterday, I came home and found out that he was missing on the mountain. He never came back to his car on Friday night. Search and Rescue was deployed and looking for him. I called the sheriffs department to see if they wanted volunteers. I wanted to help. I almost grabbed my gear and started driving out there. But, they told me that they didn’t need me.

I already knew something horrible had happened. He’s not some rookie on Mt. Baldy for the first time. This is Sam. Sam knows this mountain like nobody else. The newspapers say he lived in Culver City. That’s not correct. He lived on Mt. Baldy. And if he was missing, something was very, very wrong. As a wilderness first responder, I know that finding a missing hiker after 48 hours was more likely a body recover than a rescue. It was already day 4. But still. Not Sam!

Around 2 PM today, they found him. I don’t know the details, but he didn’t survive. My only guess is that he took a tumble down the north side that killed him. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. The entire hiking community is shocked and saddened by his death.

I want to say this. And I imagine it might be insensitive to his mourning family, maybe it’s too soon. I apologize in advance. But, this is how I feel about Sam.

I want to be like Sam.

I want to be seventy something and hiking. I want to spend my final days in the fresh air and sunshine of southern California. I want to climb 10,000 foot mountains in my old age. I want to turn the corner of time and smile into the face of everyone who is younger than me. I want to walk, step and step and step up switchbacks and scree and over to that tiny spring at the base of the Bowl to refill my Nalgene and watch as the snows of winter melt from week to week. Pass that same green Sierra Club ski hut over and over again. Left across the base of the bowl and up the tree-line and to the ridge. Make that final last miles over rugged ravines and up to that rusted iron sign. Mt. Baldy, 10,064 ft. Hold my proud hands up over my head and log another ascent. 543. 544. 545. Almost to 1000.

I want to be such a fixture of the outdoors community that hiking bloggers, random REI employees, and total strangers talk about me. That from here till eternity, anybody hiking to the top of the highest peak in LA county will hear the legend of Sam, the greatest Baldy hiker who ever lived. And that how, in the end, Sam died on that mountain that he will forever be remembered with.

He died at 78. That’s a respectable number of years. But more importantly, he lived 78 years and died on a mountain he loved, surrounded by the clear blue Southern California skies, and remembered by the outdoor community that he inspired.

Sam, you were and are an amazing inspiration. I am glad to have known you. You live on in the collective memory of the entire Southern California hiking community. You are a legend.

I want to be like you.

I’m starting #belikesam for posts about him or climbing Baldy. I’m gone this weekend, but I’ll be hiking Baldy on 4/22. Please feel free to join me. Manker Flats to the Summit via Ski Hut. Meet at 7 AM.

Sam Kim and Eddy Sam Kim, Yesenia & Denis Julian U & Sam Kim Irina C & Sam Kim

Do you have a selfie with Sam? Send it to [email protected] and we will add it to the gallery.

The post Be Like Sam appeared first on SoCal Hiker.

Sabroso Taco, Beer & Music Festival: The Offspring, Sum 41, Lucha Libre & Competitive Eating

When I first heard about this festival, which combines music and tacos I knew it was going to be something I needed to attend. Add to that the fact that the music was the perfect collection of bands from when I was in high school (Offspring, Sum 41, Lit, Unwritten Law) and you had the recipe for a nostalgic and excellent day. Fast forward to last weekend, when the festival took place, and I am happy to report it was even better than I anticipated it being. Here is a recap of my favorite parts, and be sure to check it out next year when it rolls back through Orange County again for the fifth annual Sabroso Festival.

Details

  • Up to date information on the festival can be found here

The festival was held at Doheny State Beach, which is a great spot for a concert like this. It was vast and open with lots of grass to sit on, as well as tables and benches situated around the venue.

The main concert area was in a large grass patch, and it had enough room for everyone in the sold out crowd to be able to see.

The Food and Drinks

The festival started at 1 PM, and from then until 4 PM, all of the craft beer was free to taste, and the tacos were $3. This was a huge highlight of the festival, and there were hundreds of different craft beer and taco options to choose from.

If I had to guess I would say there was over 100 various types of craft beer, each with lines of varying lengths depending on how popular the brewery was.

They taco area had some of Orange Counties best restaurants/gastropubs represented, with each having one to two tacos created just for this event.

I tried a bunch, but for me, it is hard to beat Pour Vida Latin Flavor from Anaheim, they had some unique ones like Brussel sprouts and lobster.

I also enjoyed the Mess Hall Canteen Food Truck which had a taco with tater tots, chorizo, and a cheddar shell.

Gringo Bandito was one of the main sponsors of the event, so they had a booth where you can try the hot sauces they make. I had never had them before, so it was fun to check them all out. I liked the green on the best personally.

After indulging, it was time to watch the bands. I got a chance to photograph all of them for a few songs, so here are some photos of the great performances.

Metalachi

Unwritten Law

Lit

Sum 41

Rival Sons

The Offspring

I had never seen The Offspring before, and it was incredible to see them put on such an excellent performance. They sounded great live and played many songs from their vast career.

Sum 41 and Lit were also really energetic bands that were a blast to watch as they performed with a ton of passion.

Metalachi was a fun addition that I had never heard of, and they played a mariachi take on popular metal songs like those from Metallica.

Lucha Libre

In between each of the bands, they had a Lucha Libre match set up on the beach.

I had never seen this before, but it was an incredibly fun experience. The crowds kept getting bigger and bigger as the news of how entertaining the matches were moved through the attendees.

I got a chance to see two matches, and each resembled something you would see on WWF with the crowds cheering as people flew around the ring.

Competitive Eating

Not to be outdone by the Lucha Libre, there was also a taco eating competition in between the final music set.

It featured the world-renowned Kobayashi, who you have probably seen before at an eating event on TV. I was excited to see what this was like in person and after Kobayashi had put away 159 tacos in 10 minutes for a new world record, I can easily say it was a completely unusual experience.

The way the contestants shoved tacos into their faces was both impressive and horrifying at the same time.

Kobayashi played to the crowd though, and when he won, he jumped up on the table to show off his now protruding belly to the cheering crowd.

After all was said and done, we walked like zombies with the rest of the crowd out into the parking lot. It was one of the most fun festivals I have been to in recent memory, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year. Let me know what you thought in the comments.

Desert X Art Show in the Coachella Valley: Finding the Mirror House and 11 Other Exhibits

Desert X is one of those expansive art events that is worthy of the journey it takes to visit all of its unique pieces. This show, if you can call it that, is spaced out all over the Coachella Valley and it features art that you can both see and interact with in new and unique ways. Put on by a non-profit of the same name, the idea for Desert X is to have one of these massive shows every two years, leading to a very rare and rewarding experience finding all of the pieces. I set out with a friend to see the 12 pieces that were still on display (formerly 15), and it was a full 8 hour day of what I would only compare to a scavenger hunt to find and experience the different art on display. Here is all the information and be sure to visit before April 30th as that is when the exhibit ends.

Details

  • Free
  • Check their site for hours as they can change
  • Location: All over Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Coachella
  • It takes about 6-8 hours to see all of it

Getting There

I highly recommend that you take some time to look over the map on their site. This will show you where all of the exhibits are and you can plan your drive based on which ones you want to see. Also, if you go to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (check the hours on Desert X site), they have an installation there with maps, shirts, and information on visiting the pieces. They also have docent lead tours on some of the weekends.

The Art

I am not an art aficionado, so I won’t write about what the artist wants you to take from each of the pieces, but here are the different exhibits I visited in the order that I visited them in. I came out from Los Angeles, so if you are coming from there as well, then this can serve as a recommendation for how to most efficiently see the exhibits. Also, each piece is marked with a small sign near it that has the Desert X logo and the artist name.

One I Call – Artist Sherin Guiguis

This is the first exhibit we saw, and it was located in the Whitewater Preserve. This area itself is fantastic to visit right now as the hills you drive past on the way are covered in wildflowers. After parking, you will make your way down a short trail before you see the exhibit.

  • Location: Whitewater Preserve

Donation Box – Artist Gabriel Kuri

On the way to this exhibit, we passed the mirror house but it was not open, and I wanted to see it at the end of the day, so we didn’t stop. This exhibit is located in a small shopping mall, and you can only look at it through a window, which makes it difficult to see. It is one of the shorter stops as you basically look through the window and move on.

  • Location – 2500 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Alive – Artist Jeffrey Gibson 

This exhibit is located inside of the Palm Springs Art Museum, but you don’t have to go in to see it. The piece is made from a wind turbine blade, and it sticks out massively from the museum’s sculpture garden. The museum is a good one if you like art, but if you want just a quick stop, then you can look down on the piece from the parking area.

  • Location: 101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Ace Hotel

From here we headed over to the Ace Hotel since it is the official headquarters of Desert X. The small building, located right next to the pool, houses all the information on the exhibits (be sure to check the hours). We grabbed a map and talked with the two volunteers who were excited to explain more about the history and what they were trying to do. It is a quick stop, but it is helpful to pick up a map as it has the hours on it for the different pieces as well.

  • Location: 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

hEarth – Artist Lita Albuquerque

hEarth was one of the main exhibits that had a time window you needed to see it in. When we went it was only Thurs – Sun from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, so we made it the next stop. It was located in the Sunnylands Gardens, and I was blown away by how beautiful that area was as well. There were flowering plants, lots of communal areas for people to relax at and even a small restaurant. The art was along the back path, and it was one of those that looked much more unique in person than on the pictures online. It was in the top five of my favorite pieces in the show.

  • Location: 37977 Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Curves and Zig Zags – Artist Claudia Comte

Curves and Zig Zags was another exhibit that I enjoyed a lot. It was a large curved wall situated in the middle of a desert area with mountains behind it. I liked the juxtaposition that it created between the art and landscape. It was a popular one for professional photographers as there were two shoots happening while I was there.

  • Location: 72500 Thrush Rd, Palm Desert, CA 92260

La Fiesta En El Desierto – Artist Armando Lerma

This exhibit is the furthest away of any in the show, and it took about 30 minutes to drive to from Curves and Zig Zags. It was a beautiful painting from Armando Lerma that was done on the back of a store wall. It was hard to experience as there were many cars parked in front of it but it was a nice display.

  • Location: 85963 Grapefruit Blvd, Coachella

Hollow Earth – Artist Glenn Kaino

Hollow Earth is the first of two exhibits that require you to do some additional work to see them. For Hollow Earth, it is texting a number provided on the Desert X site in order to get the code to go into the house in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, this one was charging when we went, and after waiting for 30 minutes it didn’t turn back on, so we were not able to see it in all its glory. You can mimic it by placing your phones with the flashlight directly onto the circle you walk onto though, so you can see what it would look like.

  • Location: Ave 42 & Golf Center Parkway, Indio

The Circle of Land and Sky – Artist Phillip K Smith

The Circle of Land and Sky is the second most popular exhibit in the show, and it is was to see why. It is a series of 300 different mirrors placed at 10-degree angles in a circle. I found it to be a lot of fun to just walk around and see what types of tricks the reflections played on your eyes. It is another exhibit that is popular at sunset and with professional photographers.

  • Location: Frank Sinatra Dr & Portola Ave, Palm Desert

I Am – Artist Tavares Strachan

“I Am” was the only one I really didn’t get to experience. We went during the day, and it is only open from 7 PM to 10 PM. It features a series of neon lights situated in holes around a property, and from above it spells out I Am. The photos from above look cool on their website, but there isn’t anything to see during the day.

  • Location: 35050 Via Florencia, Rancho Mirage, Ca 92270

Monument – Artist Will Boone

Monument is one of those exhibits I wished I would have experienced in the early days of this show. It requires you to email for a key to get into a roof hatch that leads to an underground bunker. When I got there over 20 people were waiting to walk down into the bunker, so I didn’t need any of the information provided via email. If you go during the week, be sure to follow the instructions on the Desert X site to email for entry.

  • Location: Ramon Rd & Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage

Visible Distance / Second Sight – Artist Jennifer Bolande

Visible Distance is an art piece that you would easily drive by if you didn’t know it was there. The artist Jennifer Bolande turned normal billboards into what you would see if the billboard was not there. As you drive down the road, there are three billboards each with a photo showing what is behind it. The exhibit is meant to be experienced driving by, and I thought it was very creative.

  • Location: Driving along Gene Autry Trail from Vista Chino or the Freeway

Mirage – Artist Doug Aitken

This is the most popular exhibit, and I am sure the one you have seen multiple times on social media. It is just as impressive in real life as it is in the photos. I spent a good hour here and went through the house probably seven times. It’s just that impressive. It will be really busy when you go though as it has become a destination in the city.

Check out a 360-degree walkthrough I did of the house here.

  • Location: 1101 W Racquet Club Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Video

Here is a video I made of the whole trip so you can get a feel for it.

Make sure to see at least a few of these for yourself before they are over at the end of April; it is one of the most fun days of exploration I have had in a while. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Desert X Art Show in the Coachella Valley: Finding the Mirror House and 11 Other Exhibits

Desert X is one of those expansive art events that is worthy of the journey it takes to visit all of its unique pieces. This show, if you can call it that, is spaced out all over the Coachella Valley and it features art that you can both see and interact with in new and unique ways. Put on by a non-profit of the same name, the idea for Desert X is to have one of these massive shows every two years, leading to a very rare and rewarding experience finding all of the pieces. I set out with a friend to see the 12 pieces that were still on display (formerly 15), and it was a full 8 hour day of what I would only compare to a scavenger hunt to find and experience the different art on display. Here is all the information and be sure to visit before April 30th as that is when the exhibit ends.

Details

  • Free
  • Check their site for hours as they can change
  • Location: All over Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Coachella
  • It takes about 6-8 hours to see all of it

Getting There

I highly recommend that you take some time to look over the map on their site. This will show you where all of the exhibits are and you can plan your drive based on which ones you want to see. Also, if you go to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (check the hours on Desert X site), they have an installation there with maps, shirts, and information on visiting the pieces. They also have docent lead tours on some of the weekends.

The Art

I am not an art aficionado, so I won’t write about what the artist wants you to take from each of the pieces, but here are the different exhibits I visited in the order that I visited them in. I came out from Los Angeles, so if you are coming from there as well, then this can serve as a recommendation for how to most efficiently see the exhibits. Also, each piece is marked with a small sign near it that has the Desert X logo and the artist name.

One I Call – Artist Sherin Guiguis

This is the first exhibit we saw, and it was located in the Whitewater Preserve. This area itself is fantastic to visit right now as the hills you drive past on the way are covered in wildflowers. After parking, you will make your way down a short trail before you see the exhibit.

  • Location: Whitewater Preserve

Donation Box – Artist Gabriel Kuri

On the way to this exhibit, we passed the mirror house but it was not open, and I wanted to see it at the end of the day, so we didn’t stop. This exhibit is located in a small shopping mall, and you can only look at it through a window, which makes it difficult to see. It is one of the shorter stops as you basically look through the window and move on.

  • Location – 2500 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Alive – Artist Jeffrey Gibson 

This exhibit is located inside of the Palm Springs Art Museum, but you don’t have to go in to see it. The piece is made from a wind turbine blade, and it sticks out massively from the museum’s sculpture garden. The museum is a good one if you like art, but if you want just a quick stop, then you can look down on the piece from the parking area.

  • Location: 101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Ace Hotel

From here we headed over to the Ace Hotel since it is the official headquarters of Desert X. The small building, located right next to the pool, houses all the information on the exhibits (be sure to check the hours). We grabbed a map and talked with the two volunteers who were excited to explain more about the history and what they were trying to do. It is a quick stop, but it is helpful to pick up a map as it has the hours on it for the different pieces as well.

  • Location: 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

hEarth – Artist Lita Albuquerque

hEarth was one of the main exhibits that had a time window you needed to see it in. When we went it was only Thurs – Sun from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, so we made it the next stop. It was located in the Sunnylands Gardens, and I was blown away by how beautiful that area was as well. There were flowering plants, lots of communal areas for people to relax at and even a small restaurant. The art was along the back path, and it was one of those that looked much more unique in person than on the pictures online. It was in the top five of my favorite pieces in the show.

  • Location: 37977 Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Curves and Zig Zags – Artist Claudia Comte

Curves and Zig Zags was another exhibit that I enjoyed a lot. It was a large curved wall situated in the middle of a desert area with mountains behind it. I liked the juxtaposition that it created between the art and landscape. It was a popular one for professional photographers as there were two shoots happening while I was there.

  • Location: 72500 Thrush Rd, Palm Desert, CA 92260

La Fiesta En El Desierto – Artist Armando Lerma

This exhibit is the furthest away of any in the show, and it took about 30 minutes to drive to from Curves and Zig Zags. It was a beautiful painting from Armando Lerma that was done on the back of a store wall. It was hard to experience as there were many cars parked in front of it but it was a nice display.

  • Location: 85963 Grapefruit Blvd, Coachella

Hollow Earth – Artist Glenn Kaino

Hollow Earth is the first of two exhibits that require you to do some additional work to see them. For Hollow Earth, it is texting a number provided on the Desert X site in order to get the code to go into the house in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, this one was charging when we went, and after waiting for 30 minutes it didn’t turn back on, so we were not able to see it in all its glory. You can mimic it by placing your phones with the flashlight directly onto the circle you walk onto though, so you can see what it would look like.

  • Location: Ave 42 & Golf Center Parkway, Indio

The Circle of Land and Sky – Artist Phillip K Smith

The Circle of Land and Sky is the second most popular exhibit in the show, and it is was to see why. It is a series of 300 different mirrors placed at 10-degree angles in a circle. I found it to be a lot of fun to just walk around and see what types of tricks the reflections played on your eyes. It is another exhibit that is popular at sunset and with professional photographers.

  • Location: Frank Sinatra Dr & Portola Ave, Palm Desert

I Am – Artist Tavares Strachan

“I Am” was the only one I really didn’t get to experience. We went during the day, and it is only open from 7 PM to 10 PM. It features a series of neon lights situated in holes around a property, and from above it spells out I Am. The photos from above look cool on their website, but there isn’t anything to see during the day.

  • Location: 35050 Via Florencia, Rancho Mirage, Ca 92270

Monument – Artist Will Boone

Monument is one of those exhibits I wished I would have experienced in the early days of this show. It requires you to email for a key to get into a roof hatch that leads to an underground bunker. When I got there over 20 people were waiting to walk down into the bunker, so I didn’t need any of the information provided via email. If you go during the week, be sure to follow the instructions on the Desert X site to email for entry.

  • Location: Ramon Rd & Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage

Visible Distance / Second Sight – Artist Jennifer Bolande

Visible Distance is an art piece that you would easily drive by if you didn’t know it was there. The artist Jennifer Bolande turned normal billboards into what you would see if the billboard was not there. As you drive down the road, there are three billboards each with a photo showing what is behind it. The exhibit is meant to be experienced driving by, and I thought it was very creative.

  • Location: Driving along Gene Autry Trail from Vista Chino or the Freeway

Mirage – Artist Doug Aitken

This is the most popular exhibit, and I am sure the one you have seen multiple times on social media. It is just as impressive in real life as it is in the photos. I spent a good hour here and went through the house probably seven times. It’s just that impressive. It will be really busy when you go though as it has become a destination in the city.

Check out a 360-degree walkthrough I did of the house here.

  • Location: 1101 W Racquet Club Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Video

Here is a video I made of the whole trip so you can get a feel for it.

Make sure to see at least a few of these for yourself before they are over at the end of April; it is one of the most fun days of exploration I have had in a while. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Join the Climb for Heroes

2017 Climb for Heroes - Team SoCalHiker

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, Team SoCalHiker is joining the Climb for Heroes for the third consecutive year, and you can join us! This annual hike takes place on Mt Baldy and raises funds for The Heroes Project. This non-profit works with veterans who have lost one or more legs in service to our country, redefining what they can do by helping them train, prepare and climb some of the highest mountains in the world.

The event is open to all ages and abilities. There will be five stations spaced along the out-and-back route, allowing you to hike as much or as little as you are able. Some people hike just to the restaurant at Notch, then take the ski lift back down (it’s totally cool). Others go as far as the start of the Devil’s Backbone. Only the heartiest will power on all the way to the 10,069′ summit of Mt Baldy–the highest mountain in Los Angeles County.

Registration for the event is free, but The Heroes Project requires that you raise a minimum of $100 to participate in the hike. It’s well worth it, with free breakfast, coffee, snacks and swag that includes a t-shirt.

The Team SoCalHiker tee

Join #TeamSoCalHiker!

You can register as an individual or as part of a team. I’d love for you to join #TeamSoCalHiker! We’re going to have awesome t-shirts for everyone on our team who meets the $100 fundraising goal by April 23rd.

How to Register

Registration is easy. Just visit our team page on Crowdrise and click the Register to Climb button and follow the instructions. Be sure to select Team SoCalHiker as your team if you want to join us.

Once you’re registered, you get your own fundraising page that you can share with friends, family and co-workers via Facebook, Twitter and email. And when they donate on your behalf, you get closer to reaching your fundraising minimum, and they get a receipt for their tax-deductible donation.

How to Donate

Can’t join us for the Climb for Heroes on May 21? You can still show your support! Donate to one of our team members. Visit our team fundraiser page and scroll down to the bottom of the team. Click Show more until you find a team member who still needs help meeting their $100 fundraising minimum and give them a boost! Your donation is tax-deductible.

The Route

The route is will be an out-and-back route that begins at the base of the Mt Baldy Ski Resort. Participants can park there for free. There will be a lot of people there, so plan to get there early. We will be gathering for a group photo at 7:30am.

Along the route are five stations, each manned by a veteran in the The Heroes Project program. You’ll get a chance to meet and talk with them, thank them for their service and hear their story. And you’ll pick-up a special poker chip that shows you made it to that station. When you return to the start/finish, you’ll be able to trade the poker chips you collected for swag.

Training for the Climb for Heroes

If this is your first time summiting Mt Baldy, here are some tips to help you get ready.

  • Hike every week between now and May 21st. I recommend two weekday hikes of 4-6 miles with hills, and one long hike on the weekend. Work your way up to 10-12 miles. You can find local trails here.
  • Hiking Mt Wilson via Chantry Flats makes a great test for both distance and vertical gain, and it’s another one of the Six-Pack of Peaks. Just don’t do it the day before.
  • If you’re not sure how your body will respond to the altitude, be prepared to turn around if you get dizzy, headaches or nausea. These could all be symptoms of altitude sickness, which can be serious.

What to Bring

  • Layers. The temperature can be quite cold early in the morning, and downright freezing on the summit. Layers that you can wear or take off when it warms up gives you flexibility to adapt to the changing conditions. Here’s a good overview of what I wear.
  • Water. I will carry three liters.
  • Snacks/Lunch. I typically carry some Clif Bars, salted nuts and electrolyte chews, and snack a little at a time rather than all at once.

Optional: Money for food afterwards. I’m going to be stopping at the Mt Baldy Lodge for a well-earned burger and a beer after the hike. Join us! 

For more information about The Heroes Project, visit the official website.

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