W K Hill
Guijarral Hills
Beale BM P500

Mar 20, 2024
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

My wife would be reffing a VB tournament in Las Vegas again this coming weekend, so I headed out to join her, leaving a few days early to get some additional peakbagging in. I stopped near Coalinga in the Central Valley for a trio of minor summits found on LoJ. It was nearly noon when I left San Jose, so not an early start by any measure. It was getting close to 2p by the time I arrived in the Coalinga area.

W K Hill

This one is located in the East Coalinga Field, an oil field run by Sentinel Peak. There doesn't seem to be much activity here. Signs at the entrance I used were signed for no drugs and alcohol and Danger, but said nothing about trespassing. I drove about a mile into the low hill and hiked a few hundred feet to the grassy summit. Lots of detritus from oil work around the place, but pleasant-looking this time of year with everything so green. I took photos looking northwest to Black Mtn and another south to the Kettleman Hills, then drove back out the way I came.

Coalinga Nose

This one is found about four miles SE of W K Hill, on oil fields owned by Chevron. There was much activity here and I was unable to use the entrance from the northwest that I planned. There were numerous trucks around several oil heads and a gate just off the pavement prevented easy access. I'm kinda glad I didn't stop to check the gate for a lock, because as I drove away I noticed a county sheriff parked just off the road within easy view of the gate. May have to wait for activity to diminish before trying again.

Guijarral Hills

This is a very small range to the north of the Kettleman Hills, on the west side of Interstate 5. It is entirely on private property, a mix of ranchlands and commercial oil fields. Paved Phelps Ave runs on the north side of the range, getting within about a mile of the summit. Los Gatos Creek runs between the road and the summit. I thought this one might be tricky, involving a quick dash from the roadway to the flood plain below, then a crossing of the creek I expected to be flowing, before climbing up the northwest slopes of the range to reach the highpoint. It turned out to be much easier than this. For one, the creek was completely dry, no water at all. Better, I was surprised to find the Pleasant Valley Ecological Reserve is found on the south side of the pavement. There was a metal set of stairs going up and over the barb-wire fence along the road and a few notices regarding access, hunting, etc. I used this, then made my way cross-country towards the highpoint, noting many tire tracks in the dry creekbed (maybe there's a way to drive here?), and some old tracks running up various slopes on the NW side of the range. There is a fenceline to cross as one nears the base of the range. It was easy to slip between the loose strands of barb-wire. On the way back, I went by a gate in the fence, locked, but the strands of wire have been cut on the side of the gate to make an easy pass-through. I spent just over half an hour to reach the highpoint. There is an old water tank at the summit and a benchmark from 1944. I took a few photos looking north and south, then went back via nearly the same route. The grasses are getting tall, small yellow flowers abound, and everything is going to seed, with only a few weeks before they let the dogs loose to torture socks and boots. But lovely out there right now...

Beale BM

This was a bonus I hadn't planned on. It's located in the Sierra foothills, found just south of SR58 as it begins to climb up the west side of the range, located on private ranchlands. I must have driven past it more than a hundred times over the years and often wondered how I might tag it. This seemed like a good time, as I would arrive shortly before sunset. I parked off SR223 southeast of the summit, a little less than a mile away. There is a dirt ranch road that goes partway up to the summit that I used. I started at 6:45p from the cattle yard found off the highway, skirting the outside of the enclosure, then up the dirt road. I spent 25min plying the road and then grass slopes to reach the summit right after sunset. I found a benchmark, but not one with the BEALE label. I took a few quick photos (nice one of Bear Mtn to the southeast), then headed back down, finishing after 7:30p. I took a shower in the fading light where I'd parked, then drove a few more hours east towards Barstow, camping just outside the west side of town for the night.


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