What fantastic day we had in the Coachella Valley! We met up with Dick Hoffman, a 17-year veteran guide with Desert Adventures, who piled us into a 1981 Jeep CJ, that holds eight passengers, with three across seating in the back. We set off to explore the oasis that surrounds the San Andreas fault, outside of Indio.
For February, it’s been a bit hot here, and as temps soared to the high eighties, we passed by a huge granite quarry and into an oasis of huge palms. The green creosote and mesquite trees dotted the stark Sonoran desert, as Dick explained how the Cahuilla Indians lived by using these trees as their natural drugstore. There is a replica here of an Indian village that shows their dwellings, the tools they used for hunting, and how they lived off the land.
We explored a deep canyon, our voices echoed off the sides of the light brown high canyon walls, and Dick told us the story about how the Salton sea was once a popular boating and fishing spot before the water became scarce was a fascinating theme that Dick elaborated on while we drove down the dusty dirt roads.
People are still moving to this valley and the draught persists, though it’s been a little better in recent months, there is still a real imperative to conserve water and use it wisely. This tour not only gave us moments of pleasure seeing the beauty of the desert, but we learned quite a bit about the original inhabitants and how they managed to live in such a dry place.
The tour lasts three hours and it’s a great way to learn the history of a fascinating place. Highly recommended!