I had driven by here the previous Saturday. And, had I been in the slow lane as I passed Haugen-Lehmann Way (Exit 111 on I-10), I would have exited and explored it, then. As it was, I ended up heading to Mission Creek Preserve, where I had a very nice hike.
But when I got a last-minute notice of an event at Sky's the Limit, I decided I would take advantage of this, both to try out my new 10" Dobsonian telescope under dark skies, and to stop by along the way for a visit to this area around Haugen-Lehmann Way. So I used four hours of vacation time, left work around noon on a Wednesday, and headed home to pack.
Got on the road before 2pm. Unfortunately, there was an accident on the freeway not far from my home, which delayed me. So, by the time I got out to Haugen-Lehmann, I figured I only had about an hour or so, maybe a bit more, before I would need to continue on. I'd need to get to Twentynine Palms with enough time to eat dinner and set up my telescope before it got too dark. Didn't want a repeat of what happend the previous Saturday, when I got to an observing spot well after dark, but then couldn't figure out how to assemble my truss-tube telescope without the manual.
I've had the telescope since December, but only set it up a few times at home. Weekends came and went with either clouds, me being sick, or me having conflicting commitments, so I never got to take it out under dark skies. Indeed, the time before I made it to Joshua Tree (when I hiked to the Golden Bee Mine), the evening turned completely cloudy.
So, quick visit. I exited at Haugen-Lehmann, headed north, drove until the road t-bones into Cottonwood Road, then turned right (north). When the pavement ended, I parked and walked the few hundred yards until the Pacific Crest Trail crossed the road. Then I walked along the trail about 3/4 of a mile, taking a lot of pictures along the way (I also took a few before I got to the end of the pavement-- I think that first shot is from the roadside). Spectacular, thick brittlebush all around. A few patches of Fremont pincushion. Very few lupine and other flowers. But, man, that brittlebush!
Happily, after my hour or so of poking around here (too short to qualify as a formal "hike" under my traditional definition of three miles, minimum), I continued to Sky's the Limit, and had a successful outing with my new telescope. Some quirks, that I'm still figuring out, but I'm happy with the purchase.
It's likely that the summer-like temperatures are rapidly drying these flowers out, but a pretty immediate trip might still be rewarding.