One of my requirements for our trip to SoCal was that I get one adventure trip with Evie. It continues to be a cherished routine of mine and it is serves two selfish goals. First, I get to go on an adventure. Second, I hopefully teach Evie to enjoy adventure and become a life-long adventure partner with Daddy.
In my time on the West Coast, I came to enjoy the desert and the long vistas, the severe beauty, and the solitude that can be found there. So in our planning I chose to do our adventure trip in the desert while visiting Grandpa Hill and Grandma Beth. We rose early in the morning, before anyone else was up, and headed for a small place called Whitewater. It’s up towards the San Gorgonio Pass and its windmill farm, which is fascinating enough for a small child, and while the road looks flat, it’s quite a climb from 200 ft. in Palm Desert to 1500 ft. in Whitewater. The elevation change makes it just a bit cooler when we get there at the 8:00 opening of the gate.
Whitewater was the location of a trout farm and cattle range for many years until the Wildlands Conservatory took it over a few years ago. Now operated as a preserve, it still has the trout ponds but now is surrounded by restored wilderness. Since the Whitewater river is a year-round river, the foilage is rather lush right around the trout ponds and river. But move away a few feet and you’re in to sand.
So off to the sand we go, marveling at the long shadows we can cast in the early morning.
Daddy’s happy, Evie’s happy.
We scamper up and down the riverbed, surrounded by features carved during the rare downpours.
We end up spending most of our time playing in the wet sand riverbed, carving new channels, digging holes, and building dams. The water is warm yet somehow cooler than the air around us. Digging your hand into the dampness somehow makes you forget the temperature is already in the 90s.
One thing I like about the desert is the unexpected beauty. Life does exist here, and it is usually dramatically beautiful. I take a few pictures of the flowers that paint our path back to the car.
We’ve worked up a sweat and still have time before we get back home, so I do my best Googling, Yelping, and Foursquaring trying to find a local eatery that is unique for something cold and yummy. Sure enough, I find one not to far from us and we head to Shields Date Garden, where Evie indulges in ice cream and I indulge in a date shake. Never had one before, but I figured I should be just as adventurous with my food as with my terrain. It was pretty good! I then try hard not to make bad date jokes and otherwise enjoy a classic tourist destination (since 1924!) where you can buy almost anything date related, including over 10 different types of dates. Who knew there were that many? A local photographer caught us in the act and graciously gave us his card so we could get our photo. Thanks Ryan Smolar!
A good end to a great day.