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The crux of the outing is probably the drive to reach our starting point. There are two Forest road, FR42 and FR480 that can be used, but both are rough going, and others have reported starting their hike from much lower on the mountain to the east. The Jeep had no trouble carrying the four of us up FR42, parking at a junction between Meaden and McFaddin Peaks. Starting off around 7:40a, we hiked FR480 clockwise around McFaddin Peak for about a mile to the Sand Mtn TH at the end of a spur Forest road. From the TH, it's another mile and change through forest and meadow on a good trail to the summit of Sand Mtn. There is a telecom installation, several very large cairns and open views, though it was very smoky today. In addition to the benchmark, a second, solar-powered antenna occupied the highest point.
We next turned northeast, descending the trail back to a saddle and then heading cross-country up and over intermediate Pt. 10,714ft on our way to McFaddin. Getting to Pt. 10,714ft is almost trivial, up open, grassy slopes, but the descent to the saddle with McFaddin was a huge talus field, not dangerous, but quite tedious. The grass slopes returned for the climb from the saddle up to McFaddin. It took us about an hour to get between Sand and McFaddin. There was a register left by John and Alyson Kirk in 2015, with about a half dozen other entries until our arrival.
Meaden Peak in another hour to the WNW, all cross-country from McFaddin. We headed west off McFadden, then northwest to reach the saddle between the two peaks, then west up to Meaden. No huge talus slopes on this one, but the descent off McFaddin was fairly steep, mostly through forest, then some talus at the bottom. Christian decided he'd had enough for the day and stopped at the saddle to relax while the other three of us continued to Meaden. There was lots of downfall in the lower half to slow us down. The summit is open to views looking west and north, with a steep cliff dropping off to the west. The views might normally be pretty good here, but the smoke washed everything out. The register was fairly old, left by Mike Garratt and dating back to 1989. The peak isn't nearly as popular as McFaddin, but there were plenty of entries over the past 32 years. We returned to the saddle where we picked up the road and Christian, then walked the remaining few minutes back to the Jeep, finishing up before noon.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Sand Mountain - McFaddin Peak - Meaden Peak
This page last updated: Sat Aug 28 16:26:39 2021
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