Big Morongo Preserve hike, I got back in my car and continued east on Highway 62, through the towns of of Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley, and on to the town of Joshua Tree. Just before Park Blvd (the road that leads to the "West" entrance to Joshua Tree), there's an outlet of Santana's Mexican Food. You'll have passed one of their other outlets as you drove through Yucca Valley, and you'd reach another one if you continued to 29 Palms.
They may have painted the outside or changed the sign since my last visit, as I actually drove right past them the first time. I turned around after Park Blvd and was thinking I might have to try the Indian food place on the other side of the road. However, from the westbound side of the road, Santana's was pretty obvious.
However, it had been a while since my last visit to Hidden Valley (the day use area where I used to set up on dark sky weekends in the past), and I managed to miss my turn, despite the large sign.
Fortunately, I was correct. I'd estimate 1.5 to 2 miles from Park Blvd to the Barker Dam parking area.
I took the left trail. It runs over sand as it weaves between rock formations. On one of the rocks to the right, a peregrine falcon roosted.
The way is generally level, with slight inclines and descents along a well-marked trail.
A quartet of Japanese tourists pointed to the right side of the depression, and said, "Sheep." Sure enough, a desert bighorn sheep was eating or licking the ground there. Unfortunately, from our perspective, all we could see was its butt.
After the sheep disappeared from view, I continued with the rest of the loop. The part after the overlook was somewhat longer than the way in, though still pretty short. It ran briefly west, then mostly south. Just before it turned to the east, it reached a sign that indicated petroglyphs. A rock with a large hollowed area was covered in colorful paintings, which apparently was someone being "helpful" or artistic by painting over the ancient art work in colors that would stand out better.
Got back to my car and drove over to Hidden Valley day use area. I was surprised to find no telescopes set up there. The prospect of getting locked behind the gates also deterred me, so I wound up setting up in a different, nearby parking. Still had a large, flat lot to set up on, right next to my car. Still had the vault toilets, if needed. And still had the relatively dark skies of the Mojave Desert, and the warm air of a summer night, for me to enjoy the stars.
The sky seems brighter than I remembered it here, especially to the south. The Milky Way is still dramatic, and even subtle things like the Veil Nebula stand out nicely even without an O-III filter.
After about 90 minutes of enjoying the highlights of the summer Milky Way, I packed up my telescope and headed home. The mount worked acceptably--the gotos were on target--but the was far less stable than I would have expected, given its weight. Still haven't decided if it's a good buy or not.
Road Canyon Three Ways | R&R 3 - I was pooped when I climbed into the tent on the edge of the West Fork of Johns Canyon. A full day of hiking (I'd covered more than 16 miles), after only a...
1 day ago
Wow I would love to hike this areaReplyDelete
I was hoping you'd post a picture of that fish burrito!ReplyDelete
John-- Nah, too hungry to stop for a picture. ;DReplyDelete
Kay--Probably too hot to be fun for you now, but it looks just as nice (but cooler) in September or October!