Saddle Peak Hills Wilderness HP
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Finishing by 8a, I drove north through Shoshone, surprised to see a line of people leading out the door of the local market. Upon closer inspection, I could see the line stretched around the back of a second building, probably 100 people all told, and likely included most of the Shoshone residents. The Powerball Lottery was on track to reach a record $1.6B and each of these were eager to get a chance at it. Funny thing was, this was only Monday morning and the drawing wouldn't take place until Wed night. This was simply the pent-up excitement over the weekend and everyone was eager to get a shot at it as soon as the store opened - kind of like waiting in line for two days to see the new Star Wars film on opening night. Everyone's gotta have a passion. Driving north from Shoshone, I crossed the Amargosa River near Eagle Mtn and was surprised to see water flowing in it for the first time. I've been through here half a dozen times in past winters and found nothing by dry rocks. Maybe there's something to this El Nino yet.
With 4.5mi separating the two summits, it would take more than 2hrs to cover the distance between them. Though not particularly interesting, it was an enjoyable hike across typical desert terrain. It was easy to get lost in random thought without the need to pay close attention to the ground, and the weather was proving superb for such wandering. Not to say there wasn't work to be done - there was some 2,500ft of gain to be made on the way to the 5,000-foot summit over the course of the distance, most of it coming in the last two miles. Along with a benchmark labeled "QUARTZ PK", there was MacLeod/Lilley register from 1978. Mixed in with a number of local visitors, the 15 pages contained entries from many of the usual desert rats - Carey, Greer, Vitz, Palmer, Sumner, Smith the younger and others. I would spend another two hours on a leisurely descent down the meandering North Ridge, part of the range's crest that divides Stewart Valley to the east from the Amargosa River drainage to the west. Somewhere along the way I crossed over the CA/NV border a second time, but noticed no markers or other signs to indicate this.
Back by 2p, I decided to call it a day though I still had several hours of daylight remaining - perhaps I was growing soft. I drove into Pahrump about 15mi to the southeast where I had dinner at Denny's (wifi and AARP discount to complement large calorie meal portions). Just after sunset I showered somewhere out behind the Walmart Superstore before driving back out of town. I returned through Death Valley Junction and north to the Amargosa Desert on the east side of the Funeral Mtns. Some meager farming takes place out here on this wide expanse of desert flats, a number of isolated homes and a few small community clusters along Amargosa Farm Rd. This paved road leads west about ten miles from SR373 which combined with Diablo Rd gets one to within 100yds of the CA and Death Valley boundaries. There are several occupied homesteads at the end of the road here and I was careful to stay off their property, finding some firm, flat ground to park on at an adjacent empty lot. Hopefully, I wouldn't cause any undue alarm with the neighbors that night...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Shadow Mountain
This page last updated: Mon Feb 22 23:35:08 2016
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