Peak 3,013ft P300
Peak 3,783ft P500
Peak 3,370ft P300

Nov 9, 2017

With: Iris Ma
Karl Fieberling

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

With the first snowstorms beginning to hit the Sierra, it was time to start the desert roadtrip season. I hadn't seen Karl since June when he'd joined on a trip to the White Mtns, so it was good to enlist him once again along with a few of the Sierra Challenge regulars. Karl and Iris were able to join me on a Thursday afternoon hike after meeting in Barstow around 1p. With only about three hours of daylight, we made a short outing to the nearby Calico Mountains to tag a trio of random, unnamed summits there. Located mostly on BLM lands, the Calico Mtns are filled with colorful rocks, badlands and other interesting features, all serviced by a network of dirt roads in various conditions.

We used Karl's Element to drive out about 9mi on I-15 to Calico Rd, then north to Mule Canyon Rd, a decent dirt road that took us into the hills. There were several other parties parked along the road for various activities that revolved around shooting, ATVing, camping, perhaps even drinking, a popular Barstow recreational cocktail mix. We left the Element just off the side of a spur road between two of the summits and started off heading east, about a mile and a quarter from Peak 3,013ft, our first stop. The hiking is pretty easy, with little vegetation on the parched lanscape. We passed by a number of claim markers though we saw little sign of any serious prospecting in the area. We found Peak 3,013ft to have two summits, the one to the southeast being highest. There was a cairn here, similar to those we would find on the other summits, though none sported a register. From this first peak we headed north, dropping 400ft before climbing 900ft up to Peak 3,783ft, the highest of the three . After examining the summit cairn for a register and finding none, we headed off the west side, down somewhat steep and loose talus slopes mixed with sand, grass and a few shrubs. We watched as a string of 3-4 vehicles drove up to where we thought the Element to be, then set up a shooting range there. It seemed rude, but only a little later did we realize that wasn't where we'd left it at all. My original plan had us heading to the third summit two miles to the southwest before calling it a day, but it seemed we were quickly running out of daylight. Instead, we hiked back to the Element, then drove up a rough dirt road to a saddle half a mile northwest of Peak 3,370ft. The sun had set before we started out at 4:45p with no packs or headlamps, figuring it was a short walk there and back. We didn't realize how quickly it grows dark once the sun sets here this time of year, however, and would make it back in failing light. It grew chilly at the summit when we reached it at 5p, prompting a speedy retreat back to the car. Not the most memorable of desert wanderings, but it was a good way to pass the afternoon. We drove back to Barstow to collect the other vehicles and dinner before heading east on I-40 to the Amboy Crater parking area where we would spend the night...


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