Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gold In Them Hills


Garner Valley is a beautiful large meadow in the San Jacinto Mountains between Palm Desert and Idyllwild on Highway 74. It is populated with horse ranches and large homes on 1 acre plus lots. On the western end is the Garner Valley Cattle Ranch, the Hurkey Creek Campground and Lake Hemet. On the north is the Desert Divide and the Pacific Crest Trail. My hike today took me to an area in the northeastern section of the valley. The area is called Gold Hill and there are a few mines according to the topographical map although I didn't have time today to go and look for them.

When I get to where the directions tell me to start hiking all I find is this road.

And this doesn't look too promising but my directions tell me to hike up the road and make a left at the T where the pavement ends so I continue.

At the T I take the left as instructed and follow this old fire road.

At this gate there's a walk through with plenty of footprints and even more hoofprints. It appears that lots of equestrians utilize this area.

The trail continues along the last of the ranches and heads out into the backcountry.

The chaparral is very dry up here and the fire danger is extreme. The area would make a very nice, easy to get to camping spot but campfires are out of the question.

The only thing back here that wouldn't burn are the incredible Joshua Tree-like boulders that sprinkle the area.

There are a few trails to explore and, hopefully, I can get up here soon because the weather this afternoon is just about perfect. At home it's over 100ยบ and here it's in the mid 70's.

This is Gold Hill and while I'd like to climb it and add it to the list of peaks I've done I have to get back home. From the look of the hill I think when I come back I'll wear long pants.

And maybe I'll bring some rock climbing shoes to do a little bouldering.

Even without going to the one of the mines I feel like I've found a real hidden treasure.


neverwashasbeen said...

Hal, is Herkey Creek anywhere close to Hurkey Creek? How big are the boulders?

Hal Summers said...

Oops! I fixed the spelling.

The boulders are between ten and thirty feet. I want to go back and do more exploring soon.