Just Another Day in the Desert

Today, after our morning routine, which includes coffee, praying, catching up on world events, and taking care of the dogs, John said to me, “Do you think we could take the dogs on that hike in La Quinta?” 

Let me tell you about this hike. It covers a strip of desert between the La Quinta coves and the Santa Rosa Mountains. Primarily, it is across flat, rock-strewn coarse sand. A few tamarisk trees and some bushes are scattered randomly along the multiple trails and across the desert floor. If there has been enough rain, wildflowers bloom, painting the bland landscape with violet, yellow, and red. It is an easy hike, unless you decide to go up into the mountains where we have seen big-horn sheep. Dogs are welcome on the flatland, and it should be a great jaunt for our young canines …

I paused and became very still, considering. Why? Because walking our dogs together is like trying to walk two neck-and-neck racehorses on the way to the finish line. Not only that, but Teddy becomes the new sheriff in town, warning all other dogs to back off with bared teeth while lunging at the end of his leash. Not be outdone, Sadie pulls hard on her leash toward the unwary canines and shrieks loudly like an abducted heroine in a 1930’s Western.

So I said to John, “Sure. We can try it.” 

Just before we left, I grabbed my phone to take photos because I was pretty certain this would be the one and only desert hike with the doxies. We took supplies like water, poop bags, and a bowl. What I didn’t bring were the training treats that make the sheriff a nicer person and the Western heroine a little less hysterical. 

We got to the park about 11:30. I looked out at the monochromatic desert with patches of jade vegetation. The jagged Santa Rosa Mountains rose purple and magenta on the horizon. The sky was a cloudless clear blue, and the bright sun poured down on flora and fauna. Although the car thermometer read 72 degrees, standing in the arid landscape felt more like 90 …

The hike was the kind of experience you do not want to have with your dogs—wild lunging, piercing shrieks, tongues hanging out, and dogs begging to be picked up, which they were, of course. After about twenty-five minutes, we decided we should turn back. By the time we got to the car, Sadie, who is sensitive to the heat, was panting heavily. We gave them water, and they drank and drank. I removed Sadie’s harness, and we put them both in their crate, then opened the sunroof, turned on the air full blast, and headed back to the golf greens, ponds, and abundant blooming flowers of the resort. 

We had gone about a quarter of mile when I thought I’d look at the three photos I had taken on my phone … No phone was to be found, but it could have been in the back of the car. I asked John if he had his phone so I could call mine, but he did not. He then pulled over to the side of the road. We got out and searched the car. No phone.

So I said the prayer from my childhood: “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost that must be found.” I added a few extra prayers, and I was suddenly certain the phone was in the car. But we could not find it.

Looking at each other, we realized we had to go back to the park just in case it was there.

As John drove slowly back, we scanned the street. No luck. When we arrived, I retraced my footsteps from the last time I had used the phone and looked all around the parking lot. In the meantime, John kept the air on full blast to keep the dogs cool and was tearing the car apart.

Finally, I went back out into the park proper to search along the path again. There, I met a young woman and asked her if she had seen an iPhone. She had not, but she offered to help me locate mine. This was a huge kindness because it was blazing hot on the sand. After about twenty minutes, we gave up. 

To access the “Find My Phone,” I needed my iPad or laptop to give permission. So I returned to the car, and we headed back to the condo. Even the dogs were silent. On the way, John patted my arm. It was very comforting, although the ten-minute ride seemed excruciatingly long. We were almost back at the condo when a text message flashed across the car screen. That meant my phone was in the car, just as I suspected. Relief flooded over me. 

Once we arrived, I ran into the condo, grabbed John’s phone, and called mine. It started to ring. And there it was—on top of the dog crate, winking and smiling like this was a hilarious joke. 

So here’s the takeaways from this little story: when you know in your heart of hearts that something is going to turn out bad, don’t do it. Duh! Be grateful for all help offered. Even though it doesn’t help, it gives your faith in humanity a boost. Trust your instincts, and don’t forget to ask for celestial help too.

Now, would anyone like to buy a pair of slightly used dachshunds? They are well trained, affectionate, and love to go on hikes—preferably together.

2 thoughts on “Just Another Day in the Desert

  1. Love your descriptions of the desert and the mountains. I also love that you have kept your sense of humor through all the trials and tribulations! It is also a good reminder that people will help and so will God! ❤️


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