Most of the day was spent driving from San Jose across the state
to Needles on the Arizona border, about 8hrs all told. I was
meeting Tom out here for some desert fun. We had
originally planned to go to Death Valley, but the Park Service had
closed the whole park
only a few days earlier. COVID-19 was taking its toll,
even on folks that make social distancing a hobby. It was raining
on and off across most of the state as a late season storm stalled
over Southern California. It was mostly dry near Needles, so we
got in a short hike late in the day, not starting until 6pm. The
hike was fairly short, only about a mile each way with 800ft
of gain, so we would easily get up and down before dark. Our peak
was the southernmost summit in the Dead Mountains north of
Needles and Interstate 40, sandwiched between US95 and the
Colorado River. There was a very busy double set of train tracks
between where we parked and our summit.
There must have been 7-8 trains that came by in 70min it took us
to get up and back. We had to wait a few minutes on our
return for a particularly long train to go by.
The hike is all class 2, a moderately steep climb up
moderately rocky slopes, nothing difficult. We knew that Adam
Walker had recorded an ascent six months earlier, so it was no
surprise to find a register he'd left, but it was interesting that he used an old, rusty tobacco tin,
perhaps one he'd found at the summit with unreadable contents.
Though it was a quick up and down,
it made for a good leg-stretcher and warm-up for the next day.