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Up not long after 6a, we drove together in the van up the dirt road a little more than a mile before reaching a fork with both directions signed for private property. We could see several buildings at the hot springs and elsewhere that appeared to be possibly occupied, so we didn't chance driving further. We parked and started out just before 7a. We chose to skirt the valley to the right, going past one home that had no cars outside. Though it appeared to be still in use, the lack of a vehicle suggested it was currently empty. We spent about half an hour skirting the edge of the private property before heading back to the main wash and following a sandy road north in the direction of the highpoint. As we came to find, there are numerous motorcycle tracks branching off in various directions. After following the jeep track north and northwest to the top of the wash, we used one of these motorcycle tracks to get us within about 500ft of the highpoint. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the summit. The summit area was strewn with large boulders and small pinnacles, the highest of which was a short but easy class 3 effort to reach. We both thought this pinnacle really helped make the visit a worthwhile effort. Unfortunately I had the camera on an incorrect setting and most all of the pictures I took over the next several hours were badly washed out.
The Paradise Range was only the first stop on my plan to reach a P1K about 4.5 miles further NNW, Oslund BM. It was not clear to me if Oslund was inside the base or out, as I had conflicting information on this depending on what map resource I was using. If it were on the base, the route to reach it did not appear to have much chance of detection. Evan was uninterested in the longer outing more because of the extra mileage it would require. I was sort of wishy-washy because I didn't really want to head out there by myself - it was not usual to have a partner with me and it seemed more fun to share the day with Evan rather than split up. With this in mind, I talked him into the backup plan which was to visit a couple of benchmarks in the south part of the range, allowing us to make a more thorough exploration of it, adding only a little extra mileage.
We followed the undulating crest of the ridge south and southwest, easy cross-country across a dry desert landscape with far more rock than shrub. A few joshua trees added some character to the landscape. We continued to use the motorcycle trails where we found them, eventually dropping off the crest to the west to utilize a track found there and avoiding a few extra climbs to intermediate bumps. Two hours after leaving the range highpoint we arrived at the Paradise-GS summit. We found the remains of the old survey tower, but look as we might we found no sign of a benchmark or reference marks. The second benchmark summit was just across a saddle to the northeast, taking about 15 minutes to cover the distance between the two. A second survey tower had been erected here, and this time we were able to locate the triangulation station, simply marked PARADISE. We found no registers at any of the three summits we visited in the range.
From our perch at Paradise-NOS we were less than half a mile from the Paradise Mine where we could pick up a gravel/dirt road back to the car less than two miles away. After dropping northeast off the summit, we took a break to explore the abandoned mine shaft bored horizontally into the mountainside. It was deep enough that we needed to use headlamps, allowing us to easily walk about 200ft in before coming across a partial cave-in and discouraging us from continuing further. Back outside, we started down the road, noting plenty of rusting, discarded gear including the cab of an old truck and a large, wooden structure for loading ore onto trucks. We were back at the van before noon, the whole outing coming in at just under five hours.
Starting out around 1:15p, we hiked through the littered badlands area, scrambling up and over a short distance to an adjacent drainage that we followed east towards our summit. Though the cross-country was easy enough, the wash climbed nearly 1,000ft in about a mile which made it seem harder than we had expected for such a short approach. After climbing out at the head of the wash to a saddle, we went up an intermediate bump where we finally could see our peak another ten minutes further east. There's nothing particularly tricky about it, a rounded desert summit that could be climbed from any direction. The summit featured a large cairn about four feet in height, but we found no register within it or at the highpoint which was a short distance away. There's a nice view looking southeast across the Mojave flood plain and Interstate 15, and closer looking down into the colorful Sunrise Canyon. Our return was mostly the same, with a bit of optimization to take out some of the extraneous kinks in the ascent route.
The summit is relatively flat with an array of towers and antennae inside a fenced enclosure. The rocks inside didn't appear any higher than those outside so I didn't bother to breach the fence. I snapped a few photos looking west and then east to the supply center before heading down. I took a more direct route down the talus-strewn west slope where I could see the van in clear view from half a mile away. I noticed two figures walking up the road towards the van and had some concern what they might do when they found it unoccupied. I hurried my pace some, but there was no way I could get even within shouting distance before they would reach the van. I had nothing to worry about it turns out. As they rounded a bend in the road and spotted the van, they stopped in their tracks and then turned to walk back down. I hadn't considered that they might think *I* was up to no good, perhaps playing with firearms or cooking up a batch of meth, and they decided it was better to simply walk away.
I returned around 5p, finishing up as the sun was about to duck behind the hills to the west. I showered, got something to eat back in Barstow, then drove about 90 miles north on I-15 to meet up with Evan again at the Excelsior Mine Rd at the Cima exit. We had more plans for the following day and spent the rest of the evening in his camper chatting and watching a movie - rough life in the desert...
This page last updated: Thu Sep 18 20:31:30 2014
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