Day 3 in the Mojave Front Range was a collection of short outings, none
more than 3mi roundtrip, most less than a mile. The temperature when I
awoke before 6a was 30F, cold, but not as cold as the 19F the previous
morning. It would warm up nicely to around 50F before the day was done.
in the Grass Valley Wilderness (as were the next two), this
one took just under an hour. The
are steep and a little loose.
Having started just before sunrise,
on this was , even
if the air temp was quite chilly. I descended the SE Ridge which had an
easier gradient, then circled back around to where .
dot the landscape to add some interest to the terrain that
is otherwise dominated by creosote.
About 1.5mi southeast of the first peak, this one took only half as long.
Though a few hundred feet higher, the
is also higher and the distance to
less than half a mile each way.
This summit is another 4.5mi southeast of the second peak. Between them is
of the Grass Valley Wilderness that I had done with Tom six
years earlier. Peak 4,162ft lies less than a mile west of the China Lake
reservation. I drove the Wilderness corridor road that splits the
Wilderness, reaching the south side after a pleasant drive. The closest
I could get to the peak was about 1.4mi on . Most of
the hike was across ,
easy walking until the last bit which
climbs steeply up volcanic rock. There is a nice view of Slocum Mtn to
It seemed a nice, remote place, so I left here.
This small collection of hills separates the Cuddleback Lake basin to the
north from the Harper Lake basin to the south. On my way to the Gravel
Hills from Peak 4,162ft, I passed through an interesting place called
. It is a compact collection of more than a hundred
to various dirtbike riders. They are quite creative, too, made up of
various and equipment, clothing, ,
ammo boxes for notes.
A few of them had lived to ripe old age, but most appear to have died
somewhere between their teen years and their 50s. Machines, adrenaline
and copious amounts of alcohol are all represented. Add in a healthy
amount of testosterone and could go wrong?
After leaving the memorial, I drove a short distance into the hills and
then a side road off the main BLM thoroughfare. This spur road is signed
as Private and No Trespassing, but the property appears to have been
abandoned some time ago. From the back of this lot, it was about half a
mile up easy terrain to the highpoint. Mark Adrian and Richard Carey had
left a register here ,
but the half a dozen entries since then all
seem to be motorcycle enthusiasts. They didn't seem to recognize the
value of the red can on the outside of the glass jar as I found it
when I arrived. I put it back together when I was
done and hid it a little better in the summit cairn. There is a nice
view of Fremont Peak to .
Once , I continued on
the BLM road as it that splits the Gravel
gets a bit rough at its narrowest point and I got out to
more closely before continuing.
These next two are minor summits adjacent to Fremont Peak. I was kinda
winging it since the BLM roads aren't all shown on the maps I had. I ended
up about 2/3mi south of Peak 3,599ft at a saddle on Fremont Peak Rd,
though it is signed as a BLM numbered route.
, I climbed
onto the South Ridge and followed it to ,
a pleasant climb on
crumbly granite. I considered continuing on to Dime Peak another 1.25mi
but since I would have to drop all the elevation anyway, I
decided to look for an easier route for that one. I returned back to the
jeep via a convenient
that was a little more direct.
Driving around, I discovered a BLM road that runs up the canyon between
Peak 3,599ft and Dime Peak. This would have been a better place to do the
last peak from as well. I drove about as far as I could get the jeep up
the wash before the road becomes more of a motorcycle track as it goes
steeply up to the saddle between the two peaks. I parked in
and northeast from there. After doing some contouring to get across
several drainages, I found myself at the base of the Southwest Face
with an 800-foot climb in the last 1/4mi. Though steep, there is a good deal
of nice granite here, making for some
and the best peak I'd
found in the last three days, hands down. At the summit, I found a glass
jar with a collection of paper scraps, the oldest from an Andy Smatko
Party . They were the ones that had dubbed
this otherwise unnamed summit as "Dime Peak."
I left with the other scraps in the
jar before starting down. I took an alternate route on the return,
contouring higher before dropping down into the original drainage.
There was going this way as well.
This was the last summit of the day and the easiest. BLM road RM70 goes
nearly to the summit from the east. The last part was a bit daunting and
I chickened out, about .
One can legally drive
about half of this distance and illegally to the summit, though it seems
the latter is mostly motorcycles. The highpoint is
easy class 3 summit rocks. The sun was heading down and with a breeze
blowing across the summit from the west it was quite chilly. I beat a
hasty retreat back to the car, drove back down to the main dirt road and
showered. I then
drove back out to US395 at Red Mtn and then onto the town of
Mojave where I planned to spend the night. I was originally going to spend
Saturday doing some peaks with Tom, but decided to head to Santa Barbara
to meet up with my daughter who was in need of some comforting and
counseling. When I informed Tom of this the previous evening, he responded,
"Confirming you're being a helicopter dad this weekend."
"You're enabling her. She's gonna move back home when she's 45."
"If I'm lucky."
"Oh yeah, someone has to change your diapers."
"And feed me. I'll be 84 when she's 45."
"Comic relief for my drive home."