During October 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requested Friends of the Desert Mountain's assistance with completing a water survey in the Santa Rosa mountains. I volunteered to assist a BLM intern complete the survey in the Bear Creek area of La Quinta. We started early to avoid having to hike the 7+ miles in the midday sun.
The fun began when the intern explained we would be hiking off trail and using GPS coordinates to find 5 locations where groundwater had previously been reported. So this would involve no trails, hiking over scree surfaces, and rock scrambling - what a great volunteer opportunity. Here are some of the views from the day.
Each survey location brought us further and higher into the canyon.
The second to last spot we surveyed involved some serious rock climbing up a dry waterfall. I managed to safely climb to the location marked with an 'X' while the intern, a experienced rock climber, continued higher to the area marked with a 'Z' where a water source had been reported.
A close up of the intern as she scaled the rock face to reach point 'Z'. Unfortunately, no water was found.
Our last survey location was not as challenging to reach.
But we did observe signs of groundwater percolating to the surface. If you look closely, you can see the area behind the intern is darker. The soil/sand in this area was damp to the touch. What a great experience getting involved with this BLM research project.