Palm Springs was a favorite stop on my ongoing California adventure; it’s a city steeped in history and yet overflowing with modern amenities. Today, Palm Springs and its surrounding areas are places that people travel to for shopping, spas, film festivals, tennis tournaments, golfing, holiday light parades, and luxury hotels and casinos. But before all this sprouted in the Southern California desert, the area was home to the Cahuilla Indians, and there are still as many as 20,000 of them living there. In the early 1900s, doctors began sending patients to Palm Springs who had health and lung issues in the hopes that the dry heat would heal them, and soon after Hollywood stars began sneaking out east for Palm Spring’s seclusion and weather. When I visited Palm Springs, I learned that there was a lot of rugged life under its glamorous facade–I rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway 6,000 feet up the San Jacinto Mountains and discovered some of the best bouldering in the world. I also visited the Palm Springs Air Museum of Flying and met a gnarly WWII vet who told me about his wartime experiences and his secret lemon-flavored alcohol drink. Scroll down to view the rest of my gallery of Palm Springs.
The Palm Springs Air Museum has one of the largest collections of WWII aircraft in the world. It was huge, and you could easily spend all day walking through the planes, and most of the staff volunteers are veterans of the great war.
I headed 6,000 feet up the San Jacinto Mountains on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to go bouldering with local Isamer Bilog, who is sponsored by Hippy Tree clothing. Bilog has been climbing the boulders above Palm Springs for about three years now.
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing without ropes or harnesses, and it’s usually done on smaller rocks with only a small crash pad to protect your fall. Bouldering emphasizes power, strength, and dynamic movement; routes up the boulders are commonly referred to as “problems” because they require a significant amount of problem solving to get up them. In the photo above, Bilog is attempting a problem while his friends spot him.
Above and left, Bilog attempts to solve the Dangerous Black Moon problem after the rain let up, making the attempt more sketchy than it would be normally–one wrong move and he’d tumble down the mountain, which is why a spotter stands ready below the boulder.
Top, Bilog reaches into his chalk bag before attempting the Sunshine Daydream problem; right, Bilog attempts another problem.
One of the best views of Palm Springs, from atop the San Jacinto Mountains. And this, my friends, is where I bid you adieu. See you on the road…