Jan 19, 200602:35 PMThe Life
Jan 19, 2006 - 02:35 PMTahquitz Canyon was closed for nearly 30 years. Since it has now been reopened to visitors (entrance at 500 West Mesquite Avenue), this might be a good time to reexamine the ancient Cahuilla Indian legend:
According to stories that have been told and retold for generations, a shaman named Tahquitz ("TAH-kwish") once developed supernatural capabilities and practiced them with good intent. However, he was eventually corrupted by his own power, until he became downright dangerous. He was subsequently banished to this canyon, where he remains to this day. In fact, some members of the local Agua Caliente tribe still refuse to enter the canyon, because they believe that Tahquitz devours the souls of the unwary. It is said that he can suddenly manifest himself as an earthquake or flood or flash of light in the sky, or even take the form of an old man in downtown Palm Springs.
The tribe built a visitor center with educational/cultural exhibits and reopened the canyon after a three-year cleanup. Fun fact: their guided hikes pass near the 60-foot waterfall featured in Frank Capra's 1937 film Lost Horizon.