THE TALE END
Jeep Tour Guide, Desert Adventures
74794 Lennon Place, Suite B, Palm Desert
Morgan Levine, a Jeep tour guide at Desert Adventures, grew up in misty Marin County. Thirty years ago, she shifted gears and came to the desert.
“The weather pulled me here,” says the former art appraiser who’s now fulfilling her true passion as a docent of the local landscape. Behind the wheel of a Jeep CJ8 she named Ghost Walker (the tribal name for mountain lion), Levine steers an array of adventure tours, visiting everything from archaeological to agricultural sites.
“Most of us here have been doing this for a decade or longer and can tell you just about everything about the area, including about the geology, native plants, animals, and Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians,” she says.
Of the tours offered, the San Andreas Fault is, by far, Levine’s favorite. “It’s 840-some acres of private land, so no one but us can go there,” she says. “It’s just you and the bones of the earth, and you can hear the geology humming.” As you twist and burn through the “tortured landscape of this active earthquake zone,” Levine explains the geologic forces that shaped its steep, ridged canyon walls.
In three exhilarating hours, you also see and learn about a natural palm oasis and wildlife like bighorns, birds, and really big cats (Levine once spotted a “ghost walker,” but the wildest thing she has witnessed so far was a golden eagle grabbing a rattlesnake, then soaring over her Jeep). You’ll do the most “Jeeping” on this fault tour. But, Levine points out, every adventure offers something special and is easily tailored to passengers’ interests and hiking abilities.
“I crave the tonic of wilderness. I especially love the vastness of Joshua Tree and the culture of the Indian Canyons,” she says. “I’ve been exploring Joshua Tree for 45 years and have not yet begun to see Joshua Tree. With every earthquake and storm, it changes.”