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Scott had some regrets about not joining us the previous weekend in Death Valley, so this was a chance to work off some of that anguish. A few days before, Iris had commented that Scott might be interested in an outing on Thur or Fri, so I tossed out the idea of visiting the Corn Springs area on Thursday. Scott was unavailable, however, as he had already made lunch plans with Robert. "Oh well", I figured, "I tried." Then I got another email from diplomat Iris, "Maybe you could suggest Friday?" Not only was Scott available Friday, but so were Matt and Iris, and as a bonus Scott was able drag Robert along, too. Robert had never done desert peakbagging and was grudgingly joining us to be sociable. Scott hoped that Robert would discover the wonders and delight that is obscure desert peakbagging. Both would be disappointed.
Corn Springs is a sad BLM campground (no fee or services) in the Chuckwalla Mtns that can be reached via a decent dirt road (2WD ok, high-clearance better) from Interstate 10. There is a P1K and a couple of almost-P900s in the area that I was interested in. Having never visited the area, it seemed like an interesting plac to check out. Everything except the campground turned out to be interesting. There were a few parties using the campground on our visit, most of the palm trees having died from either lack of water or sheer boredom. The campsites were dated and unmaintained, the whole place looking hot and dry. It appears that at one time someone tried to make an oasis out of it with the palm trees and other plants, but leaving them unattended makes the place look worse.
When I finally caught up with them, Iris and Scott were perusing a neat Sierra Club register dating back to 1950. There seems to have been regular DPS trips to this summit back in the day, but these appear to have stopped before 1980. Since then, the peak gets climbed every few years on average, enough to fill 26 pages. Barbara and Gordon had visited in 1977, Barbara's second ascent after a first effort in 1958. As it was barely 9a, we were doing quite well on time. I noted there was a bonus Peak 4,118ft another mile to the southwest and it took only about 15 seconds to get the others approval to add it to our itinerary (though Robert expressed no real desire one way or the other). It took us only about 40min to reach the bonus peak over easy terrain. Gordon and Barbara had left a register here in 1983. There was only one other party to sign the register, back in 2008, before our arrival. From here we had about 4mi to cover for the return which took us about two hours, much of it along a pleasant ridgeline heading north. Iris took a tumble somewhere along here, though the brush she fell into seemed to cushion the fall and she dusted herself off without serious harm. Gentlemen that we were, three of us stood around taking photos before offering any help.
Tiring of the ridge, I eventually led us down into the Irish Wash system on one side, dropping us into the sandy bottom. Ahead of the others, Matt and I were the first to come upon the roadway we had used earlier. I continued down the wash thinking I was shortcutting the road while Matt waited for the others to join him, after which they continued on the road. It took some time for me to realize the wash was not the same one we had started up and my route was diverging from the correct one. By the time I had corrected this and crossed over into the correct drainage, the others were well ahead and had returned to the car. Matt had seen me go off in the wrong direction and they collectively wondered when I would clue in. A bit embarrassed, I eventually joined them around 11:30a.
We drove back out to the Interstate where the others dropped me off back at the van around sunset and we said our goodbyes. I was due to pick up my daughter at the Amtrak station in Los Angeles around 10p which gave me hours of free time. Rather than fight rush hour traffic in LA, I decided to hang out in Coachella until around 8p. I caught up with email and other online activities while there, eventually finding the drive into LA later in the evening more pleasant than usual. It would be after midnight before we eventually arrived at Grandma's place in San Diego, marking the end of this month's desert wandering...
This page last updated: Thu Feb 6 18:16:18 2020
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