Today I met up with a group to hike up to a calcite mine and through some slot canyons west of the Salton Sea on the edge of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The hike was led by Dave and Cathy who I have know for years through business back in Edmonton.
The group met up in a parking lot on the edge of Indio then carpooled the 43 miles to the trailhead.
The calcite mine started operation shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the time it was the only source in the US of optical quality calcite used in gun sights. The mine operated for a relatively short time until a cheaper, synthetic optical replacement was developed.
Click on any photo for a larger view.
For the most part, the trail up to the mine site follows an old roadbed. Along the way we explored one short slot canyon that was blocked partway into it by boulders. There is no equipment or buildings marking the site of the old mine itself however the area offers an incredible view towards the Salton Sea.
Our return route took a different path through a couple of slot canyons. In some spots the canyons became so narrow that we could only proceed one at a time. Being mainly in shade, the canyons offered a slightly cooler environment than the open road on which we had climbed up to the mine. The scenery through the canyons was quite spectacular.
After a short lunch stop we made our way back out the canyon to a jeep trail, climbed up a wash and eventually reconnected with the mine road on which we had started our hike.
This was my first hike in the Coachella Valley area and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will definitely go on more hikes with one or other of the hiking clubs that I have now joined.