Birthday celebration, Part I

For my birthday, the bf planned a surprise weekend getaway for the two of us. I’m the planner in the family, so it was a big deal that he made all of the arrangements himself. He booked hotel, arranged for dog-sitting, and researched places to see and things to do.

It was lovely. We headed up to Idyllwild, a tiny town surrounded by state forest in the San Jacinto mountains, just an hour from home. The cool mountain temperatures were a welcome reprieve from the already relentless triple-digit heat of the desert. There are plenty of hiking trails, some well-regarded rock climbing spots (if you’re into that–I am not), and beautiful views.

We stayed at the Silver Pines Lodge, which sits near a creek on the edge of the main ‘village’ of the town. We started our visit by watching a video from their library. Our room had a DVD/VCR player, so we borrowed an episode of Huell Howser’s* show that featured Idyllwild. We were thrilled to see that our hotel was the first place he visited! We visited every place he mentioned except for one restaurant. It set the tone for a fun trip.

The bf was recovering from an awful case of bronchitis, so we had to forgo any hiking. But we did visit Riverside County’s smallest park. At .1 acre, Indian Relic Park is unmarked and not listed on county park web sites. But our hotel guide book and the Huell Howser special had all the info we needed to find it. The small, fenced-in area looks like a couple of boulders sitting on the site of the road. There are steps between the boulders, which lead down a slope (we’re in the mountains, after all) to a tiny open area with a couple of trees and some smaller rocks. In the rocks there are mortars used by the Cahuilla, the Native people of the area. And if you turn around to face the boulders you’ve just crossed through, you’ll find the other reason this spot is protected and unpublicized. There are well-preserved pictographs made by the Cahuilla. They are not ancient but are probably hundreds of years old, I’m told. And because they are near the base of boulders on the side facing down the slope, they’ve been protected from the elements over time and remain pretty vibrant. For some reason, the photos have disappeared from my phone, so I can’t share them.

More on my idyllic weekend in Idyllwild in my next post.

*If you don’t live in California, you should check out Huell Howser online. His shows for PBS highlight all of the wonderful things about the Golden State. Huell’s delivery might not sit well with all viewers, but his enthusiasm is charming and his topics are always interesting. He keeps a home in Palm Springs, and I dream of one day running into him on a hiking trail or at the market. He is one of my favorite California local celebrities.

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Filed under life changes, Life in Coachella Valley, Nature

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