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La Quinta is a small resort community in the Coachella Valley, situated between the larger town of Indio and the Santa Rosa Mountains. It boasts 20 golf courses including several of the top 100 in the nation. The town appears to have come of age in the early 1960s with a park, mountain and the main drag named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, a favored war hero and president of the time. The residential area is tucked into a small valley among the foothills of the Santa Rosas which rise dramatically from the valley floor. There are two unnamed P1Ks on either side at the south end where the Top of the the Cove community park is located. There are almost 20mi of trails in the desert expanse south of the town, mostly over flat, easy ground, and very popular with the locals. I parked at one of the two trailheads, already half full though it was only 6:30a on a Monday morning.
Leaving the trails, I started up the slopes in front of me, almost 2,000ft of climbing in less than a mile. Though not technically difficult, the East Ridge proved a steep, challenging route, taking me an hour to reach the summit at just over 2,600ft. Along with the remains of a wooden survey tower I found a simple register consisting of a single page left by Vitz in 2012. A local La Quinta resident had signed it back in April as the only other entry. As one might expect, the views here were better than the first summit. There is a sweeping view of the Santa Rosas from Rabbit Peak in the south, Toro Peak in the center, San Jacinto to the northwest, Palm Desert and a handful of other desert communities spread out in the flat Coachella Valley surrounding the summit.
The quickest and easiest way back would have been to simply retrace my route which wasn't a bad one at all. But given that it was barely 10a, I took an interest in the narrow canyon immediately SE of the summit. It seemed like the biggest issue would be getting down the initial steep face, after which it looked to be free of major obstacles and would give me a chance to wander down and take my time, the steep walls offering some shade as it was beginning to warm rapidly today. The upper section just below the summit was loose and steep, but with care I was able to drop down towards the canyon to reach easier ground. After about 20min of steady descent I came to the top of a large dry waterfall that could not be descended directly. I moved right (south) to climb up and over into the next gully, got cliffed out a second time, repeated the diversion in the same direction and eventually got my way to the bottom of this cliff section. Below this the canyon became much more enjoyable, following the drainage through twists and turns, negotiating some short dry waterfall sections, all class 3, happy to get occasional shade breaks against the canyon walls. The only serious detraction was some graffiti that appeared, blue spray paint on the rock walls. While it almost ensured I could descend the rest of the canyon, I found it sad that someone had to work their way up the canyon in order to leave a stark, semi-permanent reminder. It appears they had overcome a few tough sections below and felt perhaps they needed bragging rights to the canyon. Wisdom is not wasted on the young.
I emerged from the canyon just before 11:30a and with the help of the GPS had no trouble finding where to climb out of the embankment to regain the trails I had used earlier. I got back to the TH before noon and headed back out to the Interstate.
I continued north on Reche Vista Dr, eventually hitting Interstate 215 which I followed north to I-15 and the Mojave Desert. I parked at a lonely exit halfway between Victorville and Barstow where I showered discretely as the sun was quickly setting. I had one more summit a short distance from here that I wanted to do in the morning before heading home. I was happy to find that the desert temperatures at night returned to their cooling pattern and I would not have to leave the van doors open for a third night. The freeway nearby is particularly noisy, so any extra insulation would make it easier for me to sleep...
This page last updated: Fri Nov 21 17:26:56 2014
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