I was in the Barstow area to do a hike with a friend on New Year's eve and
spent the day doing some embarassingly easy summits as a warm up. Having
driven in from San Jose the previous evening, I found the outside temperature
at 18F when I got up around 6:45a. I knew it was supposed to be cold, but
that was almost ten degrees colder than the forecast I had used. Fortunately
there was no wind and a pair of gloves and balaclava were all I needed to
accessorize my fleece and standard hiking kit.
Lynx Cat Mtn
Found northwest of Hinkley, Lynx Cat can be reached via a wide, well-graded
dirt road that leads to a sand quarry on its southwest side. A BLM road
branches north just as the road turns right to enter the quarry property. I
used a large clearing adjacent to the BLM road and quarry
to spend the night undisturbed. In the morning
I spent about 20min to reach the summit and about
15min for the return. The area is an unregulated OHV/shooting
area that really
makes one appreciate the 1994 Desert Protection Act. Hinkley is a diminutive
community in a slow state of decay
and abandonment that makes Barstow look
downright metropolitan. Not much to recommend this (other the other summits on
This tiny summit with little prominence is found
just behind the
CLUI Desert Research
Center off Hinkley Rd. The name is far more impressive than either the
unremarkable research center or Red Hill. Some dirt roads off paved Hinkley Rd
can be used to make the hike to the summit
less than 10min. I felt shame.
This unnamed summit lies roughly between Lynx Cat and Red Hill. It sports 330ft
of prominence so I paid it a visit. Like Red Hill, it can be accessed off
Hinkley Rd. An abandoned ranch site
on the east side of the peak can be used to
shorten the hike to the summit to about 20min. Lots of off-roading, shooting
and trash dumping in this area as well.
Not sure how this got the "Mount" designation, but it's really just another
volcanic plug sticking up from the desert floor, this one northeast of
Hinkley. A trio of dogs from a home at the end of Dixie Rd were not so friendly
and prevented me from starting my hike from there. Another dirt road heading
east worked nicely afer a quarter mile when the dogs gave up and returned home.
I hiked north up a wash that doubles as a BLM route,
though only a Jeep or
equivalent can negotiate the difficulties encountered. It took about 30min to
reach the summit
where I found the only register on the day. A day in the
desert isn't a success until one finds a Gordon/Barbara register.
This modest summit is a foot shy of the "ranked" prominence value of 300ft. It
is located east of SR247 south of Barstow and just behind the
Less trash on this one, but there are OHV tracks
on many ridges, in the washes and over the summit. These
last two summits are located in the Stoddard Wells OHV area
which have trails
going all over the place. The hike takes about 30min roundtrip.
I used the dirt Stoddard Wells Rd off SR247 to access this last summit from
the west, near where the good dirt road goes over a saddle before dropping
into Stoddard Valley. I came across a trio of young
the day, seemingly having much of the surrounding area to themselves. This was
the most interesting of the day's summits, mostly because it wasn't quite so
short. Still, the roundtrip time was less than an hour. More shame.