My Desert Oasis, My Mirage?
This morning, the sweat from the sweltering heat of the desert awoke me. To my surprise, my guide was gone along with the camels and all the provisions were missing, my personal belongings and my wallet missing. The tent and the clothes on my back were all I had. The Moroccan desert is as tough as I thought would be, in more ways than one. It could be days before anyone discovers me here. So, I set off in the direction of an oasis a local man had spoken about the day before in a passing conversation we had as we shared the trail. Hours pass and I’ve yet to see any glimpse of an oasis, not even a tree. As I crest another ridge, my hopes are still high, I’ve yet to give up. This next ridge is just like all the others before it but as I ascend I can see green, is it just another large shrub? I reach the peak and it’s apparent this is a palm tree as the palms are clearly visible and,… wait, there are other trees along side. It’s apparent this is my oasis, but is this just a dream, a mirage?
This is not a dream but my imagination. April 18, 2015, this morning, I’m in the desert, not in despair, but with a purpose. Along with my brothers, we are hiking towards Forty Nine Palms at Joshua Tree National Park, California USA. My imagination is heavily influenced by the movies I’ve seen as a child. In this case, movies of French Legionnaires in north Africa. Being in the Moroccan desert is what I imagined as we caught our first glimpse of the oasis. With the lack of rain in the last month, the pools of water in the oasis is smaller than in the winter months but still a welcome site for the local wildlife like the big horn sheep who depend on the water to provide nourishment.
The oasis now provides a well needed shade from the sun for hikers like us during the 3 mile loop. The trail is relatively easy with a climb over a rocky hillside but the route has an established path so scrambling over rocks and boulders is not required. The oasis also presents a great opportunity for some exploring as the trail doesn’t cover the entire oasis, scrambling over boulders will be required in this case if you have the desire.
There weren’t many species of wild life in the canyon with most notable small frogs in the pools and the western chuckwalla lizard patrolling the rocky out cropping’s.
The Forty Nine Palms Oasis trail can be accomplished by most levels of hikers from young children to older hikers and I hope you get the opportunity to complete this hike.