An important part of a healthy life is exercising outside every day. Sunshine, variety in your daily walk -- uphill, flat, downhill and rugged terrain -- plus the visual stimulation if you walk in interesting or beautiful places all contribute to your health, both body and spirit.
If you want to take a healthy vacation, the Coachella Valley -- Palm Springs, California and the surrounding communities -- is a great place with many beautiful locations for outside activities. Some especially beautiful trails are located on land managed by the Wildlands Conservancy.
Start with a hike at the Mission Creek Preserve, west of Highway 62 and Desert Hot Springs, north of Palm Springs. The trail-head is at the west end of Mission Creek Road, off Highway 62. Once you start walking into the preserve, you'll be surprised by the beautiful wetlands, wild flowers -- especially in spring -- and wild life. The trail leads up into the foothills of the Little San Bernardino mountains.
If you want to take a long hike, you can hike from Mission Creek to the Whitewater Preserve, about eight miles one way. Also, the Mission Creek trail and the Whitewater trail both connect to the Pacific Crest Trail.
Whitewater Preserve, north of highway 10 near Palm Springs, was once a trout hatchery and the facilities have been converted into visitor's facility. The preserve includes sand dunes that are home to endangered species, as well as native trees and shrubs. If you're lucky, you'll see bighorn sheep while you are hiking in Whitewater preserve, a fringe-toed lizard or a desert tortoise. You'll also get good views of the windmill farms.
Farther north on Highway 62, you'll come to the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve, a truly unusual place. Pipes Canyon has unusual rock formations and volcanic mesas. Little Morongo Canyon has wetlands, native trees and shrubs, and endangered species. Pioneertown itself was once used by Hollywood in the making of Westerns. In 2006 the massive Sawtooth fire destroyed much of the pines, Joshua trees and juniper on the preserve. Wildlands Conservancy offers guided hikes to Chaparrosa Peak and to Pipes Canyon. The rangers leading the hikes can show you how the land there is restoring itself since the Sawtooth fire, and you'll see amazing rock formations and beautiful vistas.
Of course, I have to recommend that you include massage in your healthy vacation. If you are planning an active vacation in the desert, be sure to schedule one or more massages with me, not only for those sore hiking muscles, but also for pure relaxation.
NOTE: The best and most beautiful seasons for hiking are spring and fall. Unless you are a very skilled hiker and can carry plenty of water, do NOT hike during the hottest part of summer. Every year local search and rescue teams have to come to the aid of inexperienced hikers who underestimate the danger of excessive heat.
- Lisa L. Ross, HHP
- I have actively practiced as a Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) and massage therapist since 1993 with special interest and training in the Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) technique. My experience is with lymphedema disease, edema in general, pre- and post-surgery massage, cosmetic surgery edema and more. My search for a low or non impact movement modality led me to become a certified trainer in the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® I have found it to be a helpful movement modality to stimulate the Lymphatic system and other stagnation out of the body. The Gyrotonic method is the base for movement sessions used at the office. Palliative care is another direction of great interest, as many of my clients are in disease states. My mission is to provide compassionate care and resources for my clients.