Light Notes

A wet tram ride, a rainy hike

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — They shouldn’t have washed their windows.

The home with lots of glass — a place where they don’t throw stones — is in La Quinta, Calif. In anticipation of our visit, friends Gary and Sherrill scrubbed their floor-to-ceiling windows until they shone.

Not a spot of dust from the surrounding desert would mar our view.

If you’ve never visited this area just southwest of Joshua Tree National Park, it’s a place where the sun daily beams its rays through clean shiny windows.

That is, until the Luginbills arrived.

“I can’t believe it!” Sherrill wailed on the first morning of our visit. “It poured rain all night, and now we can’t eat breakfast out on the patio.”

We opened the slider to survey the puddles on the multicolor tile table as raindrops continued to fall. From what we could determine, three of the four cushioned chairs were still dry.

Since my husband, Bill, loves the feel of camping, he opted for the wet chair — and extra servings of egg souffle.

Still damp from our breakfast by the adjoining golf course, we all piled into the car for a drive to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Gary and Sherrill were sure the weather would clear. After all, more than a sprinkle or two in this desert is an anomaly.

Yes, but Bill and Lucy were here.

Up the rugged Chino Canyon we rose in the tram, foreboding clouds clinging to the top of Mount San Jacinto. Then, only a minute away from the more than 8,000 feet destination, a steely grayness wrapped around the windows.

Obviously, they’d cleaned theirs, too.

Not deterred by clouds, we headed out on a winding hiking trail to look over the edge. But before we could reach the viewpoint, the heavens opened and we were drenched with rain. The spectacular vista we’d been promised was nowhere in sight.

In spite of everything, we laughed, dodged rivulets of water and posed for pictures in the chill. And what became increasingly clear was these were no “rainy day” friends. Even with inclement weather, their upbeat attitude brought sunshine to the day.

Still, I’ll bet the next time we come for a visit they’ll leave a little dust on their windows.