Sure, it was only a day hike with the family, but when you do it with 7 children every hour feels like a day--if that's the case, then this was a four day trip
The Painted Canyon Trail is close to Joshua Tree in Southern California, and you can see the Salton Sea as you drive up Painted Canyon road. So many lines, shadows, and contrasts when you get there... it really is breathtaking. And the weather was perfect.
The fun part was watching the kids' reaction as we got further and further into the trail. They're used to the Sierras, and this was an entirely new experience for them--so many shades of brown that when you look at the sky you realize that you never knew what blue was until just that moment. As the canyons got higher the kids got more amped about being there. There are also some very narrow canyons that made my kids feel like they were at the bottom of the world.
Of course we didn't get nearly as far as I would have liked, but it was enough, and the kids keep asking if we'll ever get to go back...
We'll see what Santa can do
Here's the video for proof