Wed, Oct 6, 2021
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On my second day in the Lake Isabella area picking up strays, I paid a visit to a pair of unnamed summits on the west side of the Scodie Mtns, taking up the meat of the day. Afterwards, I drove to Kelso Valley to pick up a few stragglers there, also unnamed.
Onyx, my starting point, is a small rural town of hard living and properties strewn with junk. It is not without it's charms - on Easy St, someone has built up a frontier town of minature buildings and figurines. There are many dozens of buildings, and clearly someone has spent years in their construction and placement. On my last visit to Onyx, I was snarled and barked at by various dogs, so I was a little concerned about parking and starting out. I used the southernmost gate near two large water tanks, parking away from the gate and the one resident immediately to the north. I went over the gate at 7:45a and had no trouble with dogs or residents. I would have no trouble on my return, as well.
I walked the various roads in Scodie Canyon for two miles. The ground is bone dry, the grasses brown, and wildlife scant as the canyon awaits reviving winter rains. I've no idea how long the cattle have been absent, but their petrified scat litters the ground, probably for decades to come. After the initial two miles, I started up the long NW Ridge of Peak 6,305ft, marking the start of the 5mi cross-country portion of the morning. The ridge was steep, but footing in the firm sand decent, and I slowly made my way up to Peak 6,305ft over the next hour and a half. Smoke from the Sequoia fires had moved south during the night, leaving awful views with heavy smoke. I probably shouldn't have been exerting myself in such conditions, but I used it as an excuse to go a little slower still. The summit is found at a small collection of rocks, no difficult summit blocks today as I'd found yesterday. I took a few washed-out photos and left a register among the rocks before continuing on to Peak 6,341ft.
My second summit was but a mile away as the crow flies, with a drop of only about 400ft between them. Having dispensed with the brunt of the elevation gain on the first summit, the traverse between the two was an enjoyable jaunt along forest ridges and slopes. It took only about 50min to get from one to the other. The 2014 Nicolls Fire had burned over Peak 6,341ft's summit, and it still has barely started recovering. There were large patches of poodledog bush (stuff that shows up after a fire) that I avoided because of it's poison oak-like properties. Very few new trees have sprouted, and these are mostly small. There was another collection of summit rocks here, and I left a second register before heading back.
I went west over the slightly lower west summit, then down its West Ridge, dropping more than 2,500ft back into Scodie Canyon. Most of the ridge was forested, a good deer trail in the upper half making the descent a snap. Once back in Scodie Canyon, I had 3.5mi of hiking on various roads and cow trails to make my way back to Onyx. There are a number of structures from the canyon's cattle legacy, including water tanks, watering troughs, corrals, and the like. I was back by 1:30p, with plenty of daylight for more peaks, even if I was feeling a little spent.
This page last updated: Fri Oct 8 09:06:50 2021
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