I recently returned from a week in Palm Springs, Feb. 6 – 10, 2012. With awareness that the definition of giddy is: affected with vertigo, dizzy, frivolous and lighthearted, impulsive and flighty; my ‘giddy in Palm Springs’ was an experience of lightheartedness. I was traveling solo (which I don’t do very often), the sun was out and I had 5 days to experience and do whatever my travelers heart desired.
January was an emotional month in our household of 5. Both my daughters (college and high school senior) experienced some significant ups and downs in their lives and my ‘mothering’ heart hurt and ached for them as Dave and I sought to parent and journey with them into some sad and difficult places. Very dear friends of ours are going through a painful time of journeying with their son (recently diagnosed with cancer) and his family. Our next door neighbor’s wife of 52 years passed away the day I left. I’m primarily an introvert and have realized over the past number of years that my heart needs time and space for quiet, solitude and rest in order to continue to be present to myself, my family, friends and others. Palm Springs was my destination of choice for my ‘solitary retreat’.
My grandparents, Tilly and Tucker Battle, owned a home in Indian Wells when I was young. My memories of the desert are: palm trees, swimming in their pool, drinking date milkshakes and driving Gramps’s golf cart 🙂 The last time I visited the Palm Springs area I was 13. It had been a long time.
My hotel of choice was The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. I upgraded to a room with an outdoor patio and fireplace and was so thankful that I did. The reviews on Tripadvisor adequately described what I expected and I enjoyed my time at this hipster/fun/funky spot. The food from their restaurant on site, King’s Highway Diner was particularly delicious and I loved being able to sit by the pool, order a margarita, chips and salsa and soak in the sun, read my Kindle, people watch and rest in their hammocks. The weather on my first evening was cool, so I flipped the switch on my outdoor patio fireplace, ordered room service (an excellent burger and fries) and kicked back in the quiet and enjoyed my meal solo. If you’re a fellow parent reading this then you know the delight in not cooking, nor having to clean up afterward. Giddy would definitely describe the lightheartedness that I began to experience in my heavy heart. I sunk into the comfy rocking chair and gazed for a long time at the flickering flames and listened to the quiet desert night.
The next day was overcast and grey so I ventured off to Joshua Tree National Park. I stopped in at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center, paid my park entrance fee, chatted with a very kind park guide and headed off with a picnic lunch (from the deli on site) and my map. What an incredible place. I walked the one mile loops at Hidden Valley and Barker Dam and then did the moderately/strenuous 3 mile Ryan Mtn hike. Although there were other people around, the silence and absolute quiet of the desert surroundings were amazing. I was once again amazed at all of my internal ‘head chatter’ but was able to enjoy the quiet, solitude and peace of the desert. I could feel my heart lightening (although pounding hard on the 3 mile climb). It was good for me to be outside, alone and in the quiet.
Over the remaining days the sun came out, the temperature hit the low 80’s and I soaked in as much Vitamin D as humanly possible. The hotel has these fun cruiser style bikes that guests can borrow so I was off the next 2 mornings biking and exploring the neighborhood. There’s something about riding a bike on flat roads in the early morning sun and heat of the desert that is soul lifting and heart lightening. Morning coffee and breakfast at Old Town Coffee Shop in Old Town La Quinta was delightful and I’d recommend heading there for some delicious coffee, fabulous frittatas and delicious muffins. Lunch in Palm Springs at the Blue Coyote was great Mexican food: deliciously strong margarita, chips and homemade guacamole and fish tacos were a wonderful accompaniment to a sunny day.