Peak 4,702ft
Peak 3,500ft
Peak 3,289ft

Sun, Feb 6, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Continued...

I was set to return to San Jose today, so this would be a short morning in the desert before the long drive home. Unlike the previous two mornings when I woke up to a frigid 23F, today it was 48F when I awoke before 6a, feeling balmy by comparison. I was after some unnamed stragglers along SR247, all soft-ranked summits with modest prominence. Thanks to the Jeep, I was able to make them all short hikes of about 1/4mi each way. Needless to say, there was more driving than hiking, not bad since I was still tired from a full day in Joshua Tree yesterday.

Peak 4,702ft

This one can be accessed from the south via New Dixie Mine Rd, the same BLM road I had started on three days earlier. The shorter access is from the north using numbered BLM roads. Most of the distance can be covered with moderately high-clearance vehicles, but the roads get rough towards the end. Some short sandy sections are made easy with 4WD. The terrain is scattered with granite blocks and boulders, but good footing. It took less than 15min to find my way to the summit. Sunrise came shortly before I topped out, leaving a soft orange glow over the landscape for my summit views. I took a slightly different route on the way back, not much different than the ascent route.

Peak 3,500ft

These next two summits are located north of SR247, near Means Dry Lake. This is the site of the yearly King of Hammers OHV-athon. It draws close to 100,000 spectators, enough to make temporary Hammertown a thriving metropolis in the desert. The nine-day event had just finished the previous evening, but today was the day most of the RVs pack up and head out. There was a low cloud of dust permeating the area from all the vehicles on the move. Avoiding the main road with all the traffic, I used side roads to get to the northeast side of Peak 3,500ft. Excepting Boone Rd (the main road all the RVs use), the roads around here tend to be very sandy - 4WD a must. I stopped at a steep embankment that I could not drive up, the sand just too deep and taxing. It took only seven minutes to hike to the top where there is a steel pipe embedded in concrete among the summit rocks. It looks like it's intended as a flagpole, but there was no flag this morning. Nice view of Hammertown in the process of being dismantled to the north.

Peak 3,289ft

This one is about 3-4mi west of Means Dry Lake. I had to get across the slow train of RVs on Boone Rd to access more sandy roads to the west. It took about 20min from Boone Rd to reach the base of the peak on its south side. The hike starts out as sand dunes, then grows gradually steeper. Decomposing granite rocks litter the slopes. Where the slopes aren't too steep, the footing is pretty good, but as it gets steeper near the top, the rocks are poorly held in the sand and things get a bit messy with pieces dropping out from underfoot. The highpoint is a short distance behind the southern edge of the bluff among a pile of better quality granite. 15min to climb this one. I went back down a gully to the side of the ascent route which I thought worked much better - the footing was pretty decent there. It wasn't yet 9a when I finished up, but I had plenty of driving left that would fill the remaining hours of the day...

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