Near the trailhead
Well, if this isn’t embarrassing. On Monday, Leon and I hiked to Murray Canyon, one of the Indian Palm Canyons outside of Palm Springs. It was a gorgeous day, and we saw lots of interesting stuff, including more metallic wood boring beetles in the genus Acmaeodera than I’ve ever seen before. We saw dozens of them, with three species represented. I was able to get no good photos of them. I’m not sure why, but every time that I wanted to take a shot, my autofocus wanted to focus on anything other than the damn beetle.
Not quite in focus longhorn beetle. My best insect shot of the day, unfortunately.
Still, it was a great day. The hike begins in a palm oasis, then veers off into the desert for a while. The desert was in late spring glory this week. Most of the brittlebrush and other flowering plants have gone by in the lowest, hottest spots. But in the canyons and at slightly higher elevation, the spring bloom is still very much on. I was surprised to see such a large diversity of bloom being put forth by various members of the borage family.
Beautiful blue legume
Palms at the entrance to Murray Canyon
Eventually, the trail winds into Murray Canyon. We saw lots of wildlife and blooming plants. I also had a great butterfly sighting. For years now, I have wanted to see the California dogface butterfly. It’s a sulphur that gets its name from markings on the forewing that resemble the profile of a dog’s head. There were scores of them flying in Murray Canyon. They don’t sit still for photos- I did manage to get one blurry shot of a mating pair. That was more or less the story of the day from a photographic standpoint. At least I got two nice pictures of lizards.
Not yellow leaves, but a mating pair of California dogface butterflies.
Lizard under the palms
For me, this picture epitomizes the Colorado Desert of southern California. The palms and lush growth along the watercourse contrast with the stark, arid hills.
The hike ends up canyon at a series of small waterfalls called the Seven Sisters. There was quite a bit of water in the canyon, which made the waterfalls particularly enjoyable. On our hike out, we encountered a horned lizard that had climbed up into a small shrub where it was eating ants. Don’t even ask about a photo. And as for the butterfly that I wanted to collect for a DNA sample? In the entire long weekend, I may have gotten a fleeting glimpse of one individual. Feeling an odd combination of satisfaction and disappointment, we concluded the hike with the obvious: a stop at the trading post for sodas and Carnation ice cream sandwiches. These we enjoyed in the outdoor seating area overlooking Indian Palm Canyon.
The Seven Sisters
Ice cream and a beautiful view of Indian Palm Canyon
Labels: Beetles, Butterflies, Hiking, Lizards, Travel