My family and I wanted to cool off and go kayaking, so we headed for the desert.

Lake Perris is an artificial lake near Riverside, CA. It was blazing hot on the sand, but the lake, Oh, the lake, a glorious perversion of the natural landscape, was wonderful.  

It was super weird to paddle around the lake, with a cool breeze spraying droplets of water, while contemplating the surrounding hills of hot rock and desiccated shrubbery. I actually can’t wait to get back out there and climb around in the hills to see some of the red pictographs made by the Luiseño people. I thought for a minute that I may go out there the next day by myself to explore, then I checked the weather forecast. Remembering how hot it was on the sand, and that I would not be carrying the lake with me, I decided that experience could wait just a tiny bit longer until things cool off a wee bit. The Luiseño had the good sense to stay in the mountains until winter so…

We took the kids into the water park area to have fun on the blowup waterslides and climbing features. They didn’t emerge for five hours!

These birds crack me up.

At sunset the kids finally staggered out of the water park sunburned, chaffed, and exhausted. We ate some pre-made spaghetti and meatballs that I pulled from the cooler and drove on home. Driving away from the desert we looked back at the lake, up to the snowcapped peak of Sand To Snow National Monument, and out to the ocean. There’s no place in the world as diverse as Southern California. We have it all and I LOVE IT!

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