Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Whitewater Preserve

This morning we (Pam, John, Dave and I, Nina and Paul's dad, Armando, Lewis and Polly) went for a hike in nearby Whitewater Preserve.   We all drove separate cars to allow for different hiking tastes and worked out well I think.    After much discussion, we decided that Sasha would be happier staying home in air conditioned Beluga.  She's such a trooper that we knew she'd try to keep up with us, and we also knew she couldn't possibly.

The other evening, at our margarita dinner, Nina suggested we take this hike.
Sadly, Paul was out of town and couldn't join us today, we all missed him.

Whitewater Preserve is a 2,851 acre wilderness preserve, the Whitewater river running through its center.   Barely running at this time of year, but the presence of any running water in this desert environment seems so otherworldly to me.

The stone lined sandy trail begins alongside a beautifully clear pond and between two huge palms.

Dogs are allowed on this trail, on leash, and Lewis was almost beside himself with excitement.    My right arm and his neck are now at least 6 inches longer as a result of his constant pull on the leash.    The trail was narrow and we walked along mostly single file.  Nina and Polly were first, and Lewis wanted to be up there with those two.   Oh my...  He chortled and whistled and cried with sheer excitement.    After a half mile or so, we let both dogs off their leashes and they were free to move at their own pace.

It was quite warm out, and we were happy when we came to the slow moving, shallow river.  It ran along in the shade of huge fanglomerate cliffs, we enjoyed the shade and the dogs enjoyed galloping around in the water.

Lewis smells a dead thing

We continued along the trail until we came to a fork.   John and Pam decided to take the trail that wound up into the mountains and the rest of us turned back to check out the trout ponds and picnic area.

a required sit for treat at the fork in the trail

After Pam and John left us we explored more of the riverbank on our way back.

In 1939 this canyon was home to the Whitewater Trout Company, a family owned company supplying trout to the lakes in the San Diego area.    In 2006 the company closed and a group of conservationists bought the land to keep it from being developed.   The Wildlands Conservancy was then able to buy it at a discounted rate, dismantle the commercial trout hatchery and build what is now the Whitewater Preserve to provide free access for hiking, backpacking, picnicking and outdoor education.

The picnic area and remaining trout ponds are simply beautiful.   We walked along the different ponds, watching the huge trout swim lazily by.

Dave looks at fish, Lewis looks for Polly

  Trees shading the granite picnic tables were teeming with birds - flickers, woodpeckers, vireo, phainopepla and more I couldn't see well enough to identify.

Dave and I decided to stay and enjoy lunch under the huge cottonwoods and sycamores.

tiny yellow blooms on a brittlebush 

mounds of brittlebush line the road

On our way home we stopped at the Windmill Market, home of the best date shake in the valley (self proclaimed).   It was very good.

Tomorrow Mr. David's Mobile Dog Grooming and Hair Salon has promised to send his much sought after Dirty Desert Dog Specialist to wash and clip Lewis.


  1. Those ponds are such a pleasure in the desert! When we were there about a year ago there was a notice that BEARS had been seen at the ponds fishing in September!

  2. What a great hike - and water!! Haven't been there since I was a kid and it's lovely to see what the Conservancy has done. I swear you could find fish in the sand dunes! Beautiful pic of the reflections in the pond - and really love the row of brittlebush along the path :-)

  3. I was looking back at the Weaver's post on the Preserve. They were there on Feb. Boy, what a difference a few cooler months makes. The hills were sold brilliant green! It was gorgeous:) The top of the hills were solid Brittlebush. I mentioned to John that I bet it was just so beautiful in the spring when they are all in bloom. I'm sorry we didn't know about the ponds:(

  4. Those ponds are beautiful -- such an amazing color, and so clear! What a treat in the desert. Your description of Lewis' behavior on the trail is hilarious. :-)

  5. I believe it was Lewis and Polly who had a wonderful day!
    Since we will be there next winter, I will keep this trail on my list.
    Beautiful reflection shots and the fishes and the sunset.