With the holidays ending, it was time for the kids to head back to school. Ryan
took a flight back to Milwaukee while I was driving Jackie back to Santa
Barbara. There was a brief respite between rainstorms which made the drive
mostly dry, but after dropping her off I headed out to Mojave for a few days
while the coast ranges and Sierra bathed in more rain and snow. By the time I'd
reached Victorville along Interstate 15, I had only a few hours for a handful of
easy summits. Jeff Moffatt had moved to nearby Apple Valley a year ago to escape
the frequent fires around Cobb, and I was amused to find that he's already
climbed just about every summit in the vicinity. In similar circumstances, I'm
sure I'd have done the same.
This unnamed summit used to be 100ft higher, but has been quarried into
near-oblivion over the years - a big pit can be found where the highpoint once
stood. I approached this from the north and east to get around the active
quarry site on the west and northwest side. No one was working on a Sunday, so
it was easy to walk the quarter mile to the (new) summit without bothering
Apple Valley Ridge
This minor highpoint is found just above the junction of SR18 and Stoddard Wells
Rd. I parked on a dirt side road at the junction and climbed the steep
slope up to the summit, less than a quarter mile away. Very urban feel to
this one and lots of junk found in the area, including what looks like the
remains of a pet guinea pig that was half-buried in a towel at the summit.
A somewhat dangerous summit, its highpoint lies above an active shooting
range found on the west side. The summit is very nearly in the line of fire,
though of course most folks are shooting down at the base of the mountain.
Still, one can imagine a careless shooter firing accidently into the air - thus
the warning signs on this side of the mountain urging folks to stay away.
There is a network of motorcycle trails in the area which seem to ignore the
warnings. Folks were actively firing down below while I was there, so I
instinctively kept me had down despite the low risk. I had
first tried to reach the summit from the east side which is shorter and less
elevation gain, but a gated community found there makes it tough. Instead,
I parked lower on the west side (and south of the shooting range) and made my
up from the west and south.
This minor summit is found about 10mi north of Victorville, a few miles west
of Interstate 15 in the middle of open BLM lands.
3-4mi of dirt roads (high-clearance recommended) allows one
to drive to the very summit. A new telecom tower is going up on the top. Nice
views overlooking the Stoddard-Wells OHV area and surrounding desert regions.
It was the only one of the four summits that had any remoteness to it.