Trekking the Big Tahquitz

By Glen Ochoa.

(8/22/07) After a lousy year of rainfall, I dreaded the phone call to the ranger to inquire of the water situation in Tahquitz Valley. The ranger informed me Tahquitz Valley was now dry. Water must be packed in. With eleven folks signed up for the trip, I then dreaded having to inform them that it was now a dry backpack trip. The total number of participants immediately went from 11 to 5. Whoops... I guess I should have done a better job letting folks know that the extra water weight really was not that bad. I must be losing my sales voice.

We have quite a few dry backpacks a year and folks always have a great time. This trip was no exception. Like last year, the Big Tahquitz trip was a blast.

At the trailhead, I brought out our new hanging scale to weigh our backpacks. The backpack weights ranged from 35 to 45 lbs. Not too shabby considering we we're also packing 16 lbs of water. After taking our group shot, we we're on a our way.

Our first destination was the Tahquitz Lookout Tower. We dropped out packs at the trail junction and scurried up to the tower. Alex was already planning his romantic escapade with his future boyfriend in the cozy tower, complete with kitchen, bed, an old wood burning stove, and best of all a panoramic 360 lighthouse window view.

We then hiked back to the trail junction, picked up our packs and headed off to our next destination - Red Tahquitz. When we got to the PCT trail junction, we dropped our packs, and trekked the remaining distance to Red Tahquitz.

Red Tahquitz is one of my favorite spots in SoCal with its dramatic escarpment, colorful rock, and unmatched views of the desert divide. I was really surprised how worn the trail became from last year. I guess the secret is out. I made Mike a little nervous sitting precariously on a point on Red Tahquitz. After teasing him by pretending to fall backwards, I finally moved to a more stable area.

After having lunch and soaking in the terrific views at Red Tahquitz, we then headed off to our campsite location at Laws Junction. I brought the party tarp, and like last year, had the greatest time engaging in topics from A-Z, relaxing with our happy hour beverages.

Mike stole the show with a riveting story of an experience he had with a straight guy. Soon after we played Perfect Pace questions and shared stories long into the evening.

After hitting the sack, we had a deer visit us all night long, at one time standing right over Carlos, practically kissing him. Of course, who wouldn't want to kiss studly Carlos... uhm... or smell his armpits... Mike can fill you in on that story.

The next morning we headed off to our final destination of the "secret spot". There we enjoyed the views over Palm Springs and Desert Cities before heading back to the trailhead. Of course we had Becka Homo Eca waiting for us with her delights. We then headed off to Joanne's restaurant for some chow and some final big hugs of goodbye.

I love Tahquitz Valley. Its definitely a regular repeat with its jaunt up to the cozy lookout tower, climb up to Red Tahquitz, slumber like party at Law's Junction, and climb up to the secret spot... water or water-less.

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