Switching gears from desert roadtripping, I was now in Palm Desert with
the family for the Christmas holiday. While the family members were
sleeping in this morning,
I got up around sunrise to pay a visit to the Indio Hills,
sandwiched between the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree NP. This
collection of low hills is exceedingly dry and there is very little
vegetation. In decades past, the area was mainly used for OHVs, target
practice, and dumping garbage. In recent years, much of this BLM has been
added to the Coachella Valley Preserve, but fences have been cut and OHVs
continue to have the run of the place. I would like to imagine that as
the Coachella Valley becomes more developed, the preserve boundary will
become more policed. The few THs that are found along the roadways
(particularly 1000 Palms Canyon Rd) seem to be popular. There is a great
deal of trash that will require extensive efforts to clean up, but I can see
these hills someday becoming a more cherished OSP.
This summit is found about a mile NW of the range HP which I visited in
2018. I drove to the corner of 30th Ave and Happy Valley Dr, then up a
short ways on a dirt road to park
under a transmission line on BLM lands.
There is a boundary sign here indicating no vehicles, but the fenceline
has been cut and the road shows continuing use. I hiked the mile distance
to the rounded summit using a combination of the road and easy
cross-country, passing by a good deal of trash,
sadly, a result of its
close proximity to human settlements. It took less than 25min to reach
the summit with views overlooking the Coachella Valley to the southwest
and the Little San Bernardino Mtns to the northeast. There is a 1960
benchmark placed by the State of California Department of Water
Resources. I left a register at the summit under a small cairn before
returning via much the same route.
This one is found towards the NW end of the range, above the Sky Valley
rural development. I drove to the south end of Cortney Ln, then dirt road
to the boundary with the preserve. Fences have been cut here, too, but
there doesn't seem to be as much recent traffic as the other location. Again, I
hiked road and cross-country for about a mile to reach the
summit in about 30min. Areas to the south, west and northwest are
badlands, with deeply eroded gullies and canyons, fed by loosely held
together slopes of rock, gravel and soft earth. Coloradans Alyson and
John Kirk had visited this summit in 2017, but oddly no records from the usual
California suspects. I found my descent route a bit better than
the ascent, avoiding some side-hilling and elevation change compared to
the ascent route.
This minor summit lies in the heart of the preserve, part of the
original parcel around 1000 Palms Canyon. On the topo it is called "Squaw Hill,"
a name no longer deemed acceptable. 1000 Palms Canyon is a neat little drainage
fed by a perennial spring, lined with hundreds of palms (a thousand
seems kinda high). The preserve HQ where the hill is located is closed Mondays
and Tuesdays. On a Wednesday, the gate was closed, but vehicles
lined the road
outside and it seems to be fairly popular. I followed one of
the trails to the left and then up to the top of Mumawet.
It takes all of five minutes to reach the summit with a view overlooking
1000 Palm Canyon Oasis and a portion of the Indio Hills.
I will have to come back with some of the family to tour the palms along the