The Canal Hike

Our first morning after arriving at Slab City was a Saturday. We knew one of the main attractions we wanted to experience was The Range that night but that was hours away and so we had time to take a more thorough look around the area.

After the morning coffee ritual we took a walk and found one of the two pet cemeteries.

Next up was to go check out the eyesore piece of “art” which is Salvation Mountain. Later that afternoon Ally The Greater came by around 1pm to let us know she was going to head towards the canal to check it and did we want to go too. Another walk with a nice person and two of Willow’s doggie buddies…who could resist? Not us and so off we went with another RTR friend, Larry, as well. All we knew, in general, was that the canal was “over that way” towards the cell tower at the North East edge of Slab City. From our starting point it didn’t look that far but, as soon as the canal did not appear quickly, we made a note to check any GPS-enabled devices once we finally got there to see how long it actually was. We finally got close and could see the water but were kept out by fencing and signs saying it was illegal to trespass or loiter which took taking a swim off the table as well. Neither Ally or I had any GPS-enabled device so Larry’s Garmin wrist thingy came to the rescue and let us know it was a bit over 2.25 miles to that point. That was longer than we wanted to walk plus it was a cloud-free and breezeless day and temps were in the 80’s.

Amara and Willow though, not being able to read and being anarchists at heart, raced ahead and, before we knew it, had found a break in the fencing and were down in the water swimming around. The only problem was that this was right at the pump station named Siphon Six with water intakes and turbines and other nastiness that could suck a dog into an inlet pipe to drown or through turbines to be chop suey’d. That would make anyone sad so we quickly slid down the embankment and flopped into the water to grab each dog in turn and haul their wet, fuzzy and happy selves back up onto solid ground and safety. Herbie was the lone dry dog mostly because, with his short stature he had walked more than any of us that day and was dog tired (see what I did there 😉 and dragging ass behind the main group

Willow and Amara at the Coachella Canal
Dogs and Boots Drying Off After Their Swim and Rescue

After that excitement we headed back towards camp. On the way we saw what looked to be quite an extensive Library and walked around to the front. We had first thought of just going in the back but decided against such a brazen move since we were not sure if the rear entrance was part of the Librarian’s home or if dogs were allowed or what the deal was. When Willow and I are by ourselves we usually follow the “Contrition is Easier Than Permission” Rule but we were in mixed company and didn’t want to lead anyone into temptation. After assuring the Librarian that our dogs were not going to play a game of Chemical Warfare on the furniture or bookshelves we received permission from her that they could come in with us. Again, no phone or camera so no pictures but it is quite the extensive and well-organized Library. In my brief 5 minute perusal of the stacks I found more than a few books that are in my Great Book mental list. Had we not just stopped at a couple of Phoenix-area Little Free Libraries and stocked up I would have taken advantage of the service.

We made it back the rest of the way to our respective camps and Willow and I said we’d see them later that night at the Range and then set about feeding ourselves and changing into dry clothes to get ready for the night’s entertainment. Looking forward to it.

Leave a Reply