With my wife reffing volleyball in Las Vegas during the long Presidents'
Weekend, I made plans to meet up with her there. She would be flying in
while I did the usual drive. Yet another storm was sweeping across CA
and this one would see me driving in more rain than otherwise.
Almost the entire drive across the Mojave Desert from Tehachapi Pass to
past Barstow was strong rain - I had never experienced so much rain in
the desert before, so this was kinda new. I planned to do some peaks north
of the Afton Exit on I-15, about halfway between Barstow and Baker, but
due to the rain I had to cut short my plans. I spent several hours at the
end of the pavement waiting out the rain. The dirt/sand road I was
planning to drive on had become a small creek
during my wait. Eventually
the rain relented, giving me a few hours to tag a couple of peaks. Neither
was very difficult, hardly enough to call exercise. Oh well, at least I
got do something...
Found just north of the Interstate, I had to drive a few miles along a
poweline road that parallels the freeway to get myself within about
half a mile of the summit
on its south side. While the route wasn't too
steep, the rains had saturated the grounds leaving stuff quite loose.
On the plus side, the rain also turned the sandy soils into a a soggy
mush, so the ground tended to give way more slowly, making it a bit safer.
The highpoint is found at the northwest end of a short summit
ridgeline where I found a dilapidated survey tower, a cairn,
a benchmark and a register left by Mark Adrian only six months
earlier. The whole outing
took something like 45min.
This unnamed summit is found on the south side
of the freeway, a few miles from the Afton exit. There are
telecom towers located near the summit with a somewhat rough road
(high-clearance recommended) leading to them, making this nearly a drive-up.
The hike to the summit was all of a few hundred yards with no real elevation
gain. There is a good view of Cave Mountain
to the east from the summit, though the heavy overcast kept things
subdued. It was nearly 5p by the time I was back to the jeep, leaving me
no time for anything else. The sun made a very brief appearance
just before sunset to light up Cave Mtn and the Soda Mtns
as I was heading out on I-15, but it soon
grew dark and the rain returned, not stopping until after I'd reached the
Nevada Border over an hour later.
Matt Yaussi comments
This was quite the epic rainstorm today. We recorded about 3 inches of rain at our house in Glendale, while Palomar Mountain down in San Diego County recorded just over 10 inches! It looks like Anza Borrego Desert State Park got a pretty good soaking as well.