Peak 4,826ft P500
Peak 4,603ft P300
Peak 5,003ft
Vontrigger Hills P300
Peak 3,566ft P300

Mon, Mar 28, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile

Continued...

I was working my way through the southeastern portion of Mojave NP, collecting obscure summits I had neglected on previous visits. None were particularly difficult, and only the first outing had any signficant mileage. Still, I was kept busy for most of the day and was pretty tired by the end. A weak weather system was due to pass through the area. No rain fell until the evening, but it was overcast for much of the day. Temperatures were quite nice for hiking.

Peak 4,826ft - Peak 4,603ft

These are the easternmost summits in the Woods Mountains. They are most easily accessed from the northeast, starting at the Wilderness boundary at Watson Wash. I followed an old road, now part of the Wilderness, for about a mile to the south before turning southwest and west to head cross-country for Peak 4,826ft. I used one of the convenient burro trails through the desert flats before climbing out of the drainage and onto the East Slopes. There is a modest cliff band that took some class 3 scrambling, but no real exposure. I spent about an hour and a quarter to reach the first summit, picking up the first of several ticks on the day, just below the top. Sprawling Hackberry Mtn can be seen to the east, the Providence Mtns far to the southwest across Wild Horse Mesa. I left a register here before continuing south to Peak 4,603ft, a mile away. I followed the connecting ridgeline going over intermediate point 1,372m along the way, taking an hour between summits. I left a second register at this summit. For the return, I dropped northeast into the drainage that I followed back out to the broad Watson Wash, eventually picking up the old road that I could follow north back to the starting point. About 6.5mi and four hours for the effort.

peak_5,003ft

This summit is part of the volcanic Hackberry Mtn complex, found less than a mile NNW of Hackberry's highpoint. The summit is crowned by a cliffband that slopes to the north, the only direction where one doesn't have to pass through the cliffs. I followed the sloping terrain from the northern edge of the Wilderness, taking just over an hour to reach the summit. There is much varnished volcanic rock littering the ground, but not enough to be tedious. More interesting were the tiny yellow flowers in bloom by the thousands, enough to brighten up the slope in large swaths. There is a near view of the Higher Hackberry highpoint to the south, less than a mile away. After returning to the Jeep, confusion ensued. I somehow thought I had another summit to reach in the northern part of Hackberry Mtn, and spent about 45min driving up the very rough road towards the highpoint, only to find that I was following an alternative route I had mapped to the very same summit I had just climbed. Oh well, it was a fun bit of Jeeping through the Wilderness cherry stem - back out I went after discovering my mistake.

Vontrigger Hills HP

This small collection of hills lies east of Hackberry Mtn, separating Fenner Valley to the south from Lanfair Valley to the north. The unassuming highpoint lies at the east end of the range. There is no Wilderness to be found in the area, but the roads are somewhat limited. I found one that leads to an old cabin about a mile west of the highpoint. The cabin is marginally maintained by someone, and there is an ample supply of 2x4 firewood outside. I wasn't much interested in checking out the inside, given the poor condition outside. I spent about 45min hiking cross-country, along a portion of old road, up a sandy wash, and then easy slopes to the summit. There was an old geologist's hammer lying on the ground with a weathered and splintered wood handle. I left it there for the next adventurer to discover. Knowing that MacLeod & Lilley had visited in 2011 (it was one of Gordon's last summits), I expected there to be a register at the summit where the VON benchmark is located. I found neither register nor benchmark, though the latter was probably under the small summit cairn, repurposed as a rodent nest. There is another summit a quarter mile to the southwest I thought could be higher (it wasn't), so I visited it in turn, but there was no register to be found there, either. A little disappointed, I returned back to the jeep following much the same route.

Peak 3,566ft

This last summit is found about 3mi southeast of the Vontrigger HP, but there was almost an hour of driving to reach the base of it. I drove a very sandy wash to get within a quarter mile of the summit on the west side side. With rain threatening to start up, I made haste up and down the steep, rocky slope in less than half an hour, depositing a register at the summit before making my hasty departure. Not much to this summit, mostly a pile of varnished desert rock.

It was after 5:15p when I got back to the Jeep. I showered in the wash where I parked before spending the next hour driving a myriad of roads in various conditions to the east end of Lanfair Valley and the base of the Piute Range near the Nevada border where I planned to hike the next day. Rain would start up shortly after I'd finished dinner and gone to bed, lasting for 2-3hrs. I was parked in one of the few desert places where there was more dirt than sand, making me worried that I might be stuck in a mud bog come morning. Luckily the rain wasn't too intense and the wind would begin drying things out almost as soon as the rain had ceased...

Continued...


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