We have continued our exit out of California with a week in Palm Desert.
It’s been like a week-long farewell party with the coming and going of seven families of very close friends. A few of these are my childhood chums…
The rest we met during the precious time we spent at St. George’s Preschool.
While Isabel and Brady were painting and digging in the sand with their little buddies, we were befriending their parents.
Through one magical preschool, we have become lifelong friends.
Here in Palm Desert we’ve spent the blistering days poolside, riding a waterslide on a constant loop, drinking frosty blended beverages in a cabana, and cooling off in the pool with our kids splashing around us rambunctiously. In the evenings, we’ve met at the outdoor grill to cook dinner and imbibe on evening cocktails and conversation as the kids frolic on the golf course.
When the giant sprinklers began its night-time watering routine, the kids ran through, soaking their clothes with the setting sun painting the sky in pinks and yellows.
A farewell party obviously comes with goodbyes, and there have been many of them this week as each family has gone home. It’s so strange, I don’t at all feel like we’re saying goodbye. I don’t think it has set in that I’m not going to see these friends on a regular basis for monthly ladies birthday dinners, Super Bowl parties, Memorial Day barbecues, summer Music in the Park, or watching The Bachelor every Monday night. I’m not worried about keeping these friendships strong. But there have been many mutual tears, just the same.
We are the last family standing. We have stayed for a few solitary days of Womack family time. We often like to do a new excursion off of the resort property to have a little break from pool time. Today we took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway upto Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
On the way, we passed some of the hundreds of windmills that power the desert communities.
We’re headed to the top of that mountain. Notice the desolate terrain we’re driving through to get there. It’s so hot and exposed. It’s drastically different than where we’re headed!
It took me over thirty years of vacationing in Palm Springs to finally do this excursion.
Here we go!
Up, up, and away! The bottom of the tram constantly rotates so we can see all angles on our ride up. Notice the vegetation along the creekbed from the snow run-off.
Everytime we pass one of these towers, the tram rocks and we have to hold on!
A tram passes us that is headed back down the mountain.
We’re pretty high!
That’s where we’re headed, to the top of that mountain.
We made it!
The ten minute trip travels two and a half miles and upto 8,516 feet in elevation. That’s a 5,873 foot climb!
Palm Springs is a long way down there.
It’s a completely different world up here!
It was one hundred and four degrees when we left Palm Desert and when we climbed out of the tram, it was a cool sixty seven degrees! We left the barren desert and emerged into a forest.
We thought we would explore a bit.
Here I come!
We came across a stream to play in.
There were lots of sparkling goldish specks in the water.
We were sure we’d struck it rich!
“There’s gold in these mountains. I can feel it!” That was me channeling the old man from Gold Rush.
Brady hit rocks together in an effort to create arrowheads.
And John gazed out into the water pondering life and how lucky he is to have me.
I guess I’m lucky to have him, too.
That was a fun adventure. Oddly enough, the scenery reminded us of our annual camping trip in Big Pine, California, which we’ll be missing this year because of the move.
It’s almost like this was our little camping moment.
When we got back to the resort, I went for a walk by myself on the hotel property to play with my camera.
It interests me that the arid desert setting with it’s harsh, sharp plants mellows and becomes more beautiful as the sun and lighting soften. I experimented with that.
The pops of color are what make Palm Springs and its surrounding communities an oasis paradise in the middle of a parched environment. It was fun to photograph in a completely different setting. A far departure from my Downtown L.A. cityscape shots!
This blog has allowed indulged me with the experience of reflecting on each little phase of the move. I’m grateful for the moments to thank each place that has been a big part of this chapter of our lives.
La Canada is not only the place I personally grew up and lived such a happy childhood and adolescence, but also the place where John, Isabel and I completed our little family of four when Brady joined us and we brought him home to our little abode on Patagonia Drive.
Huntington Beach was a beautiful haven where we were so blessed to spend so many family weekends and vacations with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and my nieces. John and I have watched Isabel and Brady boogie board in the surf, frolic in the shallow water with their cousins, and I’ve personally helped them dig pools of water for sand crabs and create elaborate sand castle fortresses in a race against the next destructive wave. Us adults had countless happy hours on the front patio as neighbors climbed over the low walls separating the houses to join us. We all decorated our wagons and bicycles with red, white and blue crepe paper and rode down PCH to the 4th of July parade and then returned to an all day neighborhood block party.
Since Brady was three months old, we have been coming to Palm Desert every summer with friends. Back then, we would put our babies down for a nap on a lounge chair under an umbrella as our toddlers splashed around in the wading pool with their mermaid Barbies. At night, we would fiercely compete in a girls against boys Sequence competition on the balcony as the kids were fast asleep, snuggled up on the pull-out couch. These traditions have continued and evolved as our kids have grown, as well as the size of our group.
This week in Palm Desert marks the end of this chapter. Even as we plan on continuing these traditions on future summer vacations and holidays back in California, this marks the end of the reflecting, the end of our exit. For tomorrow, we will begin our trek to Oklahoma, with a few stops along the way, the entrance into our new chapter.
(Listen to this song! John just happened to play it for me, as I was finishing up this post as we sit on our balcony in Palm Desert. It reminds me of The Irish Blessing that I learned when I was a kid and it sure feels relevant today.)