Three of my great-nieces live in Wisconsin, where it’s cold and snowy right now, so as I started a short hike the other day, I thought how fun it would be to document my path and the scenery and then make a blog post to show them what a desert hike looks like. Here we go…
First, a smart hiker must know where they are going, so let’s look at the map. We’re going to start at the Small Boulder mark, and then take the trail that goes by the Big Boulder and around the campsite areas. The volunteer at the Visitor Center said it’s the best trail, so let’s do it!
A smart hiker also carries a daypack with water, a snack, some camera gear (well, if you’re a photographer that is), sunglasses, and a hat. Here in the desert, sunglasses are a must and a hat can help keep you cool if things really heat up.
Eden, Eliza, Emma – are you ready to go hiking in the desert?
Let’s start walking! We’re already going up, and there’s lots of little rocks, so watch your feet!
There’s something else we have to watch out for too. LOTS of pointy plants here, like these cactus.
And here’s a closeup. Those are some very pointy spines!
Everything in the desert fights to exist and these sharp spines keep critters from munching on the plant for water. We’re going to stay alert and not get too close to any cactus while we’re hiking, right? Right!
As we walk, we stop and look out to the left. Hey, you can see the campground where we started! Can you spot my little trailer? (I circled it in red so it’s easier to find!)
At the highest point in our hike, we get a good look at this rock formation, which looks like someone pushed a bunch of rocks up out of the desert. Which is actually what happened millions of years ago!
Since then, rain in the winter and wind all year long have weathered these rocks into really interesting shapes. Here’s a closeup. Pretty cool!
The desert can get hot, even in winter, so let’s stop and take a drink of water. Good thing we packed water, I’m thirsty from all this hiking! While we drink, look at how pretty those mountains are across the valley. I can see them out my trailer window every day.
Now we’re halfway through our hike, and we start going downhill.
Our view changes from mountains, or “ranges” to open plains, or “basins.” The geologists call this type of scenery “basin and range” and now you know why!
The mountains way off in the distance are more than 25 miles away! You can see a long ways in the desert here because it’s so flat and the air is so clean. And the campsite looks cool from this part of the trail, too.
I like the yucca plants because have these tall stalks that wave in the wind. They did have flowers on them, but the blooms are already gone. Imagine that, a plant that flowers in the middle of winter! Just one more way that deserts are very different than Wisconsin.
There’s one more mountain on our hike, off to the right. It’s not quite as rocky but it’s actually taller than the other mountain we passed earlier. And there’s antennas on top of it. Can you see them?
This section of the trail is really rocky, so we have to be careful because it’s easy to slip on the rocks and we are going downhill too!
Now we’re at the end of the trail, so we’re also at the end of the hike! Let’s take one last look back up where we were…
I hope you had fun on our virtual hike! See you next time, girls!