Beacon Station P300
Cinder Mesa
Peak 1,633ft P500

Mar 1, 2018
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

With several days of rain skirting over the Bay Area and the northern part of the state, I decided to head to Death Valley for a short 4-day roadtrip. Today's peaks were just a couple of easy hikes to round out about 7hrs of driving. In contrast to the rain I'd left in San Jose, the weather in the Mojave was fair, temps in the low 60s, a smattering of clouds and moderately windy. Quite nice!

Beacon Station/Cinder Mesa

Unofficially named Beacon Station lies just off Interstate 15 at the Rasor exit, once the site of an airway beacon station (some maps show this exit as Beacon Station), used by aircraft for nighttime navigation back in the day. Today, the Rasor exit is home to a Shell station and little else. The surrounding desert is littered with an inordinate amount of trash, sadly. There are sandy jeep trails criss-crossing the area and with a sufficiently beefy vehicle one can drive very close to both of these summits. Beacon Station took less than 30min to reach, whereupon I left a register since I found none. It took another half hour to traverse south between the two, going through a saddle about 300ft lower than both summits. The second summit was more interesting, as here I found a 31yr-old Smatko register that had no other entries. The plastic film cannister isn't holding up as well as the metal ones he used in the 60s and 70s, the lid was partially disintegrated leaving the small sheets of paper somewhat weathered. In it, Smatko had christened the peak as "Cinder Mesa" so I've used that here. I dropped off the west side of the peak and followed one of the sandy roads back to the van.

Peak 1,634ft

This minor summit lies about 10mi northwest of Baker and 3mi west of SR127. It is one of three summits along the west side of dry Silver Lake with more than 600ft of prominence. Matt and I had driven by them a few months earlier while doing other peaks further west along the powerline road. Silver Lake Rd heading west from SR127 was in excellent shape today - it and the poweline road portion to the north are both kept in good condition as they are used for the SE entrance to the Ft. Irwin military reservation. I drove the van to the junction of Silver Lake Rd and Powerline Rd and started from near there, with only about 2/3mi distance to the summit. It was almost 4:30p by the time I parked off the side of the powerline road where it grew rocky. I managed to get up and back from the summit in about an hour, returning just before sunset. I wandered about the summit ridge making sure I got the highpoint (there are 2 or 3 likely spots, not sure which is highest), finding no register anywhere. I didn't have another with me to leave, so this one remains unadorned.

After finishing the second leisurely hike I showered before heading north on SR127 to Tecopa where I would spend the night. A full moon would keep things bright and a growing wind would keep the van rocking gently much of the night...


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