Peak 4,883ft
Tomo-Kahni Peak
Peak 4,510ft

Mon, Mar 28, 2016
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2 3

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I was on my way back from Red Rocks, having spent the night sleeping off a dirt road somewhere east of Barstow. I got up at 5a to continue the drive west towards home, but only managed about an hour of driving before I was feeling tired again. So I pulled off somewhere west of Kramer Junction and slept for another hour and a half. I was much more refreshed this time, feeling like doing some easy hikes before heading home to San Jose. There are two summits on either side of Hwy58 near Tehachapi Pass that I was interested in, Pajuela Peak to the north and unnamed Peak 4,883ft to the south. The former is at the far south end of the Sierra Nevada, the latter at the north end of the Tehachapis. I'd seen them countess times on my way to and from the Mojave Desert and would finally have a chance to pay them a visit.

Peak 4,883ft

I exited Hwy58 at Cameron Canyon Rd and found my way to the PCT crossing of this road a few miles to the southwest. I parked at a small clearing and headed out across the road around 8a. My first effort would be to Peak 4,883ft, just above where the PCT tops out as it heads south across the eastern edge of the Tehachapi Mtns. The slope here is composed of a great deal of sand which, combined with some heavy local rains that washed out Hwy58 a few months ago, has seen some serious erosion. The trail has been repaired thanks both to a local Boy Scout Troop (who probably supply the man-power) and the energy company that installed the wind farm at the top of the ridge (and probably supply the dollars), with some new bridges replacing gully washouts and some tread repair elsewhere. Wildflowers are in bloom in places along the trail as it switchbacks a number of times, climbing almost 1,000ft in about two miles. I left the trail near where it tops out, passing through a gate and sevice road used to reach the numerous towers along the ridge. The summit was non-spectacular, a grassy knoll not much higher than surrounding areas on the broad ridgeline. The descent was far more interesting, utilizing one of the sandy gullies that more or less go straight down the ridge, making for a super-fast return. I had to get out of the gully near the bottom to avoid trespassing on someone's property near the road, traversing north back to the PCT before returning to the car. The whole outing took only an hour and a half.

Pajuela Peak

This summit lies at the top of another large windmill farm, all on private property. I started from the Hwy58/Cameron exit, climbing cross-country up steep, sometimes loose slopes for several hundred feet before reaching one of the dirt/gravel roads that service a line of windmills on Pajuela's South Ridge. As I was hiking up this road I spotted a white company truck parked at the base of the only windmill that was at a standstill. I quickly backed up and got off the road, traversing a slope and climbing a gully to the east until I was well above the truck. Back on the road, I continued up to about the 5,100-foot level, less than half a mile from the summit. My luck gave out as the white truck came rumbling up the road and stopped to ask what I was doing. No, this was not BLM land. All private. No, I could not continue to the summit. They were nice about it all, but quite firm. Having radioed to headquarters near the Sand Canyon exit, they were instructed to give me a ride back down the mountain. This would be a problem, however, as my car was at the next exit to the east and I'd have no way to legally walk from one to the other. Would they let me walk back down the way I came? More consulting, and finally, yes, that was acceptable. I briefly considered waiting until they were out of sight before continuing anyway, but since they were nice about it I decided to play fair and descend. Good thing I did, too, because I found that they had simply stopped out of sight below to make sure I continued down. They didn't leave sight of me for good until I had descended nearly to the bottom of the service road. Next time I'll do this as a moonlight hike...

Tomo-Kahni Park

Nestled north of Hwy58 and west of Sand Canyon Road is a little-known state park called Tomo-Kahni, after an indian tribe that had a Winter Village here long before white folks were around. Access to the park is restricted to docented visits that must be arranged ahead of time. The village site and pictographs are in the northwest part of the park, but I was interested in the highpoint, found in the SE corner, just off Sand Canyon Rd. I found a place to park on the southeast side of the the road just past the vet clinic (big red barn), hiking north and northwest to the highpoint. The slopes had a vast array of colorful wildflowers in yellow, purple and orange. The summit area is comprised of some very large sandstone blocks, some of which are class 5. The highest is class 3 from its SW corner, offering a bit of challenge to what I expected to be another tame summit. The top of this block is quite large and could hold dozens of folks comfortably while offering unobstructed views in all directions. After descending the block, I continued west down easy slopes, eventually passing over the park boundary at an old fenceline and curving to the south. I was aiming for bonus Peak 4,510ft about a mile south of Tomo-Kahni. The route followed the ridgeline between the two, passing near some trailers parked at the edge of a mesa before dropping to a saddle between the two peaks just northwest of Peaki 4,510ft. I followed an old, unused ranch road from the saddle to the top of this second summit. The top was rounded and not much for views, save for a nice one looking east to Pajuela Peak as I was descending in that direction. I dropped down to Sand Canyon Rd and hiked the half mile distance along the road back to the van, finishing up before 1:30p. A nice half day effort before continuing the remaining 5hr drive back to San Jose...

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