Kicking off another desert roadtrip, possibly the last of the season before
things get too warm, I spent most of the day driving from San Jose out to
Barstow, about 6hrs with a few brief stops. From Barstow, I headed south on
SR247 to tackle some easy peaks on either side of the highway. The weather
today was suberb, mid-50s with a moderate wind blowing to keep things chilly
but not too cold - quite a welcome change from those last days in the Palm
Springs area the during last trip when things got too warm. The desert continues
to come alive from the winter rains, first greening up, now insects taking wing.
Butterflies were out in abundance the unfortunate ones
plastering my car with
their bodies and small splurts of yellow-orange with each hit on the windshield.
Most of the hiking today was cross-country, none of it harder than class 2.
Trailer Peak/Peak 4,733ft
This was the only hike of real substance, a a 3mi loop with about 1,400ft,
taking in two summits. Both are located in the Ord Mtns, on the east side of
SR247, south of where the highway goes over a pass on the shoulder of Stoddard
Ridge. I drove a rough dirt road in from the highway for 2mi to get me within
half a mile of Trailer Peak to the north. It took only 20min to reach
the modest summit with a fine view of Lucerne Valley and the snowy San Gabriels
to the south. I spied a small blue and white pill bottle tucked into the
summit cairn, guessing at its contents. Sure enough, it was a
dated from 1977. They were the ones to dub the summit as "Trailer Peak".
Jeff Moffat was the only other party to sign it, having
visited only six months ago - I was beaten by a fellow SCer.
The higher Peak 4,733ft lies a mile and a quarter to the north along a
with a 400-foot drop to a saddle between them. This made for a
pleasant hike that took about an hour at a casual pace. Like most of the
terrain in this part of the Mojave currently, the ground was alive with an
abundance of green plants and tiny flowers in yellow and purple. It was almost
impossible to take a step anywhere without crushing part of one plant or
another. The second summit has three points vying for
the highpoint. The middle
seems to be the highest, but I found no register at any of the locations. It
was nearly 4p by the time I returned to the jeep where I'd left it
in the wash.
This minor summit is found along Stoddard Ridge, just west of the highway and
the pass it goes over. There is ample parking
off the west side of the road. The hike follows along the ridge,
about 3/4mi each way. There are two summits
of similar height. The closer one is Knar BM,
but the higher one is to the west
another quarter mile further along the ridge. There was no register at
either point that I could locate.
This one is found about 2mi ENE of Peak 4,594ft on the east side of the
highway, and the only officially named summit of the day.
There is a telecom installation on the NE side that
most cars can drive to. The road continues past the installation for a short
distance to an overlook,
high-clearance recommended for this part. An old road
continues higher, but there is an unsigned fence
blocking access. I hiked about half a mile each way to
the summit, finding a register dated to 2004. Barbara and
Gordon had visited in 2006, leaving a better register and glass
jar to contain it. Seems a fairly popular peak,
the upper half made up of
large, rounded granite rocks that offer a modicum of scrambling.
This last summit is located another 2.5mi north of Goat Mtn, also on the east
side of the highway. I drove back down
the road, past the telecom installation to a fork, then took backroads for a
couple of miles to get myself within half a mile of the summit on the
southwest side. The sun was getting ready to set but this was a quick one,
taking only half an hour to get myself up and down.
The setting sun left a fine, soft glow on the desert greenery,
a most enjoyable way to close out the
day. The wind had died to almost nothing, making it easier for me to shower
as the sun began to fade behind hills to the west. Five summits in five hours -
not a bad way to start the trip...