My sister Gayle, who is my Irish twin, came to visit me for a couple days so that we could celebrate our last few days as sisters who are both 60 years of age. We have a very special relationship and enjoy each others company a lot. We both like the great outdoors and to hike, so I took her to Borrego Palm Canyon early this morning. It is still too warm to hike with Callie and I had to once again leave her behind… GULP! I will make it up to her this afternoon with rough and tumble playtime during happy hour. Before we went on the hike, I gave her time to climb the olive trees and watch the sun reflect off the San Ysidro foothills behind the house. It was a beautiful morning and only 62 degrees and 78 when we finished the hike. We met a wonderful woman ranger that was checking out internet service on the trail and she told us she does lectures and field trips for children that come to visit the nature center. I promised myself I would remember her name and repeated it to myself several times while heading up the trail. Well, I don’t remember it. Do you think it could be because I am turning 61? At any rate, the hike was lovely, the sky a soft powder blue, lots of sunshine and this time I found the entrance to the oasis with ease and wanted to make sure that any of you reading this blog, find it too. When you get to the number 15 marker, you have to walk past it and head toward the two palms west of the sign. When you have gone 10 ft or so you veer to the left and follow the pathway through the reeds and standing water in order to get to the other side and enter the shaded oasis. There are a lot of thirsty bees buzzing busily when you walk through the water but just walk fast and don’t swat at them. Bees need water just like most living creatures and they favor the shallow water so they can land safely and drink. They won’t bother you if they don’t feel threatened. Once you pass the water you will hike up into the entrance to the oasis. I have a feeling that a fair amount of hikers find it difficult to actually discover the final resting spot where you can relax in the shade of the skirted fan palms. We heard voices as we were preparing to hike back, and thinking that the hikers would want some private time, we headed back out. We didn’t run across them, so they did not find the trail entranceway and were probably scampering up and around and over the rocks the hard way. When you do manage to arrive at the destination, it is very cool and shaded and it is truly an astonishing discovery in the middle of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Some of the ocotillo were actuallly blooming after what little rain we had about a month ago and there were still a few blooms on the desert willow. The trail is well maintained and there is a lot of evidence of bighorn sheep near the oasis. Pay attention when you are hiking and look down for hoof prints, trampled areas where they bed down for the night and best of all, black pellet piles. The three mile hike is fairly easy and there is a spring at the head of the trail with a restroom for your convience. Gayle and I went swimming when we got back home, and can now relax and enjoy a couple more days of being 60 years old together. What a wonderful way to turn 61.