Red Hills HP
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Today's effort was a 6mi loop with 1,700ft of gain, covering 3 summits in the northern part of the ACEC. The parking lot off SR120 I used can be reached by any vehicle, though the last quarter mile was a little rough. One could make a shorter outing of this by using the road network to drive closer to the various summits, but it was less than 3.5hrs without doing so. I headed first to Taylor Hill, the easternmost of the three, following a dirt road down to paved Red Hill Rd, about half a mile. I then had to cross a creek before starting up to Taylor Hill, which became an exercise in absurdity. I chose the worst possible place to make a crossing, not realizing this as I started through knee-high blackberry brambles. This only got worse as I pushed on, growing to chest-level and tangled badly with woody shrubs on the creek. Thorns were grabbing my pants, shirt, hat, gloves, and some skin, too. I spent more than 20min to go about 100ft to get through this mess, finally reaching drier, easier ground on the other side. Only a few hundred feet to the north the crossing becomes trivial (it seems there's a spring feeding the heavy brush growth where I was crossing). The rest of the outing was a piece of cake by comparison. Another 25min saw me to the top of Taylor Hill. The summit and much of my route to reach it is actually outside BLM lands, but there was no fencing or signs to indicate this. The top had a simple duck with views overlooking Chinese Camp along SR120, with various mines, mills and ranches peppered about the landscape.
I descended back down to the pavement by much the same route (avoiding the brambles, this time), then started up to Peak 1,518ft on the west side of the road. This was mostly open grass, weaving around buckthorn and other brush until I found a very good trail as I neared the summit. I'm not sure where it starts on the east side, but it would be useful to get me down the west side of the summit. I paused only briefly atop Peak 1,518ft, finding little to hold my interest and more curious as to where the trail I'd found goes. I went off the WNW side, eventually merging into an old road which in turn merged with the S. Serpentine Loop Rd, a driveable route in the ACEC. I followed this dirt road as it heads NW for about 1/3mi, eventually turning west to head towards the last summit, the Red Hills HP. It sports more than 500ft of prominence and had the best views of the three peaks I visited. There was an ammo box holding a geocache logbook and the usual assortment of trinkets, none of which looked particularly interesting. Chris Kerth had been the last to make an entry back in February, climbing the same three summits plus another one I planned for tomorrow. My return went quickly as I was only a mile and a quarter from the parking spot, getting me back in about 30min to finish up soon after 3p. I probably had enough time for another peak elsewhere before sunset, but I was feeling a little lazy and called it a day.
This page last updated: Fri Nov 29 08:01:48 2019
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