Our last day in Joshua Tree. Only about 6 miles to the second rental car, most of it off-trail. Unfortunately, we had a timetable- we estimated that we wanted to be at the car by noon to comfortably make our flight out of Palm Springs.
We lifted up what were now very light packs, and headed for Smith Water Canyon. I had hiked this a few years before as a day hike. At the time, heavy rains had filled the canyon with water, but that didn’t look likely today.
Imagine my surprise when I found a hole that had been dug by some thirsty animals- in the hole was actual wet mud. The surprises continued as we hiked up the canyon- thick brush, vibrant grasses, then actual puddles of water. Trees, birdsong, running water– it was just an incredibly alive, vibrant oasis of life.