Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eureka Peak

I tried to visit Eureka Peak once before, but the road was washed out. A couple days ago my friend Phyllis and I tried again. Good news: the right road is in perfect condition, just graded. Just don't take a wrong turn, like we did! (Go left at the sign for Covington Flats; right at the fork where there's two gates; right at the sign for Joshua Tree National Park; right at the sign with pictures of a camera and a hiker; and finally, right at the sign for Eureka Peak).

To me, the entire area is like "the park before the park." There are no paved roads, and few visitors come here. The road becomes narrower and more winding as you go. Finally you reach a parking area where this gate marks the short trail to Eureka Peak.

The view is astounding--the snow-covered peaks of both San Jacinto (left) and San Gorgonio (right) laid out in front of you. (To reproduce this view, I had to stitch two pictures together in Photoshop Elements--another learning curve for this newbie user!) The real view is much bigger and in-your-face--you can even see the windmills turning at the junction of Hwys. 10 and 62.

At Eureka Peak, not all the flowers have bloomed yet. We did see this desert sunflower, and slightly lower, some fine lupine.

All along the route, carpets of yellow coreopsis are in bloom, and the hillsides are orange with mallow.