Friday, February 19, 2016

False Sombrero

False Sombrero ©
February 19, 2016, Joel Hawk

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Going solo today and it's 110 miles one way from my home, so up early at 3 a.m and on my way by 4 so I can be there by sunrise.  Looking forward to walking on the desert floor and since I've never been in the Indian Gorge, I'm excited.

My plan to is bag both False Sombrero and Sombrero Peak today.  This is a challenging undertaking, but I'm up for it.  I want to start with False Sombrero to get warmed up and then go get Sombrero Peak.  This is Sombrero Peak in the distance.  There is a great shot of both peaks off of S-2 before you reach Indian Gorge, but I forgot to stop on my way out.

360 degree pano at the trailhead.  Hard to see, but there are some desert flowers starting to bloom.  A coyote graced me this morning and saw a couple of jack rabbits/birds/lizards.  I did see some tracks in the DG that appeared to be mountain sheep, but the tracks were not clear.

So I've navigated to the trailhead and need to decide which way up do I want to go.  I have always been a "straight up" kind of guy, but I will take the wash to the left and see how it goes.

About to summit as I come upon what I suspect is the culprit that gave this peak its name.  This isn't the high point nor where the register is, but it is a cool looking rock and if you use your childish imagination, you can see what looks like a sombrero.

Once you summit, finding the register is easy.  I looked for the benchmark, but could not find it if there was one.  I'm getting pretty good at climbing rocks without rope and chain, but more on that later.

I never made a plan that I couldn't change on the fly.  I had wanted to come down the way I came up, but read a previous entry in the register about the ascent from the South.  Remembering the rock structures to the right of the mountain, I thought that would be fun, so I opted to rock scramble back down vs. taking the screed slide.  Have you ever had cholla in your rear...hard to get it out when you're by yourself and embarrassing to let someone else no slide today.

Sometimes the lessons learned on the trail come the hard way.  By the time you find out, it's too late!

Great views straight down regarding the rock scramble adventure I'm on.  Almost down with about 200 ft to go.

Quick view back up from where I've come.  Knarley works our Lord has created, but beautiful as well.

Remember I said I was pretty good at climbing rocks.  Well obviously, I'm pretty good at falling off them as well. I have officially climbed over 100 peaks and this is the worst fall I've had.  You just never know....

Nothing hurt bad...just some scrapes and bruises and pride.  I'm sure I'll feel it more tomorrow.  Just a quick message about the risks we take when hiking the back country.

My track...start left and come back down that way...

Be safe, (really, really safe), enjoy living and appreciate our lands.   ~ Joel

Directions and the numbers:
Take I-8 to Ocotillo and take the S-2 all the way back to Indian Gorge.  Almost any vehicle can manage this road and will take you to the trailhead.  Total round trip from the end of the dirt road up to the peak is 1.5 miles, 2086 total ascent with a max elevation of 3445 ft.  Overall this took me about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Roost Benchmark

Roost Benchmark ©
February 3, 2016, Joel Hawk

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Wanting to get back on the trails after a long hiatus playing ball, I decided to go on an easy one.  I asked a good buddy if he wanted to go with me and he agreed.  Paul Lederman has climbed and hunted all these mountains over the last 40 years, so I was looking forward to learning about the history of this area firsthand.  That man is a wealth of knowledge about the Indians who used to live here and their migration habits.  I look forward to learning more.

We met at Kwaaymii Point at sunrise where the PCT crosses and there is parking available.  We decided to shorten the hike and drive down the road to the jeep road just inside the Anza-Borrego Desert Park and take 3 miles off.  Gorgeous views from Kwaaymii Point if you get the chance.  The morning was brisk at 24 degrees and there was some snow on the ground from a recent snowfall.  Looking like fun.
Once we reached the parking area, we donned our gear and headed off.  At first, we used the jeep trail.

The route I had planned was to snag both Oriflamme Mountain and Oriflamme Mountain North along the ridge to Roost.  It was a perfect day for a hike.  This is a pano from Oriflamme Mountain.  What views...We actually found both the register and a Terra-cache here.

On toward Oriflamme North walking along the ridge in an easy scramble (other than the occasional and normal poke in the legs from burnt manzanita).  This was a short jaunt and we stayed on the ridge to save losing altitude only to have to regain it again.  As you can see below, Paul is quite the explorer.

While on top of Oriflamme North, Paul saw a camping site.  So when we descended from the summit, we took an off-trail route to explore.  We came across an old, abandoned car on the way.  We suspect a miner of long ago left it.  You can see the camp and water tank about 200 yards or so out.
So back on our original track, we head for Roost.  Paul takes point.  
As we come up to the base of Roost, she looks like fun.  We went straight up, but an easier route is to go around and summit from the backside.  This is how we came back down.

After ascending, Paul tells me, "I love this stuff."
 Captain Morgan has arrived.  And yes, my bag of Cheetos came along with me.
There are two benchmarks, both from 1940.  One is pictured here.
 Nice views from the summit.  We saw deer and a condor while on the summit.  Looking over toward NE, we spotted Granite which I think will be my next climb.
 This was a great hike and fairly easy.  We saw coyote and bobcat tracks, but not them naturally.  They probably watched us clamor all over the area from the safety of their bedding down spots.  We opted to ditch the jeep road on the way back and bushwhack back.  We could have used the trails, but that would have been boring.
Paul had to get back, but I was being beaconed to climb one more peak before sunset.  Peak 5444 is a short 1/2 miler up next to where we parked, so up I went.

At first I climbed up to the left thinking that was the summit, but here wasn't a benchmark nor a register.  So I kept looking and found the typical metal fence post marking the "survey" point.  The altitude was 5444 so I knew I had made the summit.

 It was a grand day, so I headed home for a hot dinner.  
 Total mileage was 10.3 and total ascent was 4631 with max elevation of 5468.  Life is good.

Be safe, enjoy living and appreciate our lands.   ~ Joel
Directions and the numbers:
Take I-8 to Sunrise Highway.  Travel through Laguna and park at the Lucky 5 gate on the left (not in front of the gate please).

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire ©
April 23, 2015, Joel Hawk
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
 (I changed phones and sure nuff...lost my pictures in the process).  It's me.  I'll leave the information posted for general interest.

We were playing a Senior Softball Tournament in Las Vegas and decided to start adding little adventures on our softball trips.  Looking into what to do around LV, I saw this State Park and made plans to check it out.  It's a short 45 minute drive North of Vegas on I-15 and there are plenty of signs to help point the way.  Not many stores or gas stations, so be prepared before you strike out.  Great drive and if you're lucky like we were, not many visitors driving through the park.  Most of this post will be pictures and they alone will tell the story with a few comments as an aside.

One of the first things we saw were the Beehives.  A natural rock formation created by wind and water and it's only a few yards off the road.  As I mentioned, the sights to see are well marked so if it's something you would like to visit, just keep an eye out for the signs.

The next sight we came upon was Atlatl Rock where we saw some exceptional ancient Indian rock art, or petroglyphs.  Viewing these art pieces high up on the rocks is made easy using the man-made stairway. There are facilities here and in many other spots, so no fear ladies.  

 I'm so lucky to have such a gorgeous hiking buddy....

 Along the same path is a naturally made Arch Rock.  Look closely at the last picture as I used Arch Rock to frame the large cliffs in the background.

 As you could imagine, the rock formations and colors are stunning.  We did not visit on a particularly sunny day, but still we enjoyed the beauty that Nature provides in our land.

Driving down the road and looking up at the skyline, I discovered screaming rock.
Our next adventure is to Mouse's Tank where there are hundreds of petroglyphs along the canyon walls.  This is a short hike through the canyon and it is heavily traveled.  No fear of getting lost or having to boulder jump/scramble like I do in many of my hikes.  There are so many petroglyphs that I will just post the ones I thought were interesting.  No one knows how old these are or what they really mean, but I added a picture of a sign discussing what they could mean.

Next, we traveled to Silica Dome where stark white meets with rich reds.

Running out of time and getting a little thirsty, we found a spot overlooking the vast valleys to watch the sunset.
As the sun was setting, we talked about how lucky we are in this life and how about the love we share with each other.  We are truly blessed.  And though the sun is setting on this day, we look forward to tomorrows sunrise and new adventures.

Be safe, enjoy living and appreciate our lands.   ~ Joel

For more information and brochures, visit this link.