John, Adam and Lew realizing this was not the correct route. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Hiking—the options seem endless in Palm Springs. Add the greater Coachella Valley, and, well, the mileage is going to be impressive.

On my two-week trip to the desert just after Thanksgiving I had the good fortune of being part of three group excursions right in Palm Springs, with a solo adventure to Tahquitz Canyon and a day trip to Borrego Springs.

While some people find the desert boring, not me. I’m sure some people find the mountains boring; you’ve seen one pine tree, how many more do you need to see? I find both settings magical in their own way.

One of the things I appreciate about the desert is how much life there is an area that at first glance appears desolate, and, well, lifeless. Still, I prefer large wild animals—bears, coyotes—and not the kind that slither on the ground.

The Bob Hope house is a focal point when hiking and elsewhere in Palm Springs. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Definitely not a fan of creepy crawlers, so of course there was a massive tarantula blocking the trail. OK, not really blocking it, but the spider did make me stop in my tracks. Made all four of us stop. Then we started taking pictures and videos. Stupid humans.

Since then I have learned tarantulas can go seven months without drinking water, which explains one reason they thrive in the desert. They also dig dens that can be 20 inches deep, which is where they go to nap.

This eight-legged wonder was in the Palm Canyon area of Palm Springs. I was there with three others, two of whom had hiked there before. Based on part of the excursion being more like a rock scramble, it was clear we should have been using a map instead of memory. But then we might not have seen spidey.

Fan palms are the only native palm trees in the California desert. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

We never did figure out where we zagged when we should have zigged in Fern Canyon. No biggie, we were never lost; we just weren’t where we wanted to be.

Victor Trail took us where we wanted to go. At times we were above an incredible palm oasis. This fertile swath of land looks so out of place in the desert. Before we knew it we were in the middle of this grove, with palms providing a canopy of shade.

This is the world’s largest California fan palm oasis in the world.

Many of the trunks were charred. All I could find online about a fire in the canyon was this from 1980.

Another outing had us on a trail where the 24,000-square-foot Bob Hope estate was the focal point much of the way. While no longer belonging to a member of the Hope family, it is still known as the Bob Hope house.

The Bob Hope estate has views of the greater Palm Springs area. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

It looks a bit like an alien space shift. A tour of the inside would undoubtedly be interesting. It is an architectural spectacle.

The hike was mostly along the Bern’s Trail. We did a one way which dropped off in the neighborhood of one of the guys.

The first outing was the Lyken Trail which can be accessed across the street from the condo where I was cat sitting on South Palm Canyon Drive. It was a good introductory hike to get me acclimated to the terrain and my surroundings.

I know I barely made a dent in the desert’s trail system. Not a problem. Ready to tackle more on the next trip.

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