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At Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

| Two weeks ago Ken came to brunch with a newspaper article about Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. "We should go there next week for brunch," he said, "it's the place Bob is always wanting to go to." We promptly decided that Bob should drive (since he wasn't present to object).

So on Sunday we piled into Bob's car for the half-hour drive to the canyon. We carefully arranged ourselves to minimize argy-bargy.

The preserve is a riparian and marsh environment (I'm reminded of Hyacinth Bucket's "waterside supper with riparian entertainment") — who knew there would be a marsh in the desert? The preserve sits on an earthquake fault, and a river runs through it, from the Mojave to the Colorado deserts. Water, naturally, attracts a wide gamut of wildlife. This just a few miles from Palm Springs.

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Bench break — cross left L-R: Bob, Réal, Ken, Phil
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Bench break — cross right L-R: Bob, Réal, Ken, Paul
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Antique cash register at Cafe Morongo

There's a superb system of "trails" through the preserve. They're actually raised boardwalks made of composite decking (Trex, or Trex-like). Benches and viewing areas are spaced along the trails. We saw a deer, many birds, and were reasonably grateful that we did not see the mountain lions and rattlesnakes of which numerous signs warned.

But this was to be our brunch, so we brought along an ample supply of champagne and the usual pot luck. I made what Giada de Laurentiis calls Baked French toast with blueberries but, to me, it's more like blueberry bread pudding, and would be terrific as a dessert with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

After eating we took a "hike" around the shortest loop of trail. That was a sufficient challenge, in view of the copious amount of champagne we had drunk and the summer-ish temperature (110°F). We were only too pleased to stop on our way home at a little roadside cafe for some cold beverages — not champagne. The Morongo Cafe turned out to be a fine place, and we intend to go back again for a Sunday breakfast.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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