Friday, November 18, 2011

Going cross country in a Joshua Tree forest ain’t easy as I found out. Plus make sure you read my next post!

Tuesday morning after I left my wonderfully quiet hotel room at the Goldstrike
Hotel and Casino, and after stocking up on provisions at the Carl’s Jr. in Primm, Nevada, also known as stateline, I decided to head back to the Sunrise Rock area to see if the Mojave Cross was still up, and to try and get a hike accomplished.

Rolling toward the Teutonia Peak trailhead, I made a spur of the moment decision to keep going and park on the side of the road across from Sunrise Rock. Looking out across the Joshua tree covered valley, I decided to make my
way to Kessler Peak, and to try climbing toward the summit; as far as my feet
and legs could carry me up.

At first, it seemed easy as I only had to go around obstacles such as spine covered brush or rock outcroppings.
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Ground cover like this isn’t too hard to go through, almost seemingly being able to straightline to Kessler Peak
way in the distance.
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The above photograph is starting to show how the terrain is getting tougher. I am starting to see more
blackbrush, but you can still see a makeshift path going to the right as you approach the rock outcropping.
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You might consider going around this type rock outcropping. By the way, watch where you put your hands and your feet
as you will regret it if you happen to step upon a mojave green rattlesnake.

Luckily for me, I had sense enough to bring my big hiking staff. It was a godsend to be able to push chollas aside, for example, to step through a small
opening between a blackbrush and the cholla. They actually are called
“jumping chollas” by some, and will inflict painful barbs into your skin, that
are very difficult to get out.

Yes, the stick really saved me a few times, especially coming back down the
steep slope. Besides the obvious use to stop a slide, it was also useful in
testing the rocky talus to see if the rocks I had to step on were loose or not.

Plus I figured that I might be able to use it on a mountain lion, if needed to prevent it from having me for lunch.

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This gap near the ridgeline ended up being my ultimate destination. Below is a video made with the webcam of my
laptop as I rested while on the way to the destination.

The climb definitely is about to get steeper!

I finally got up to this point where I discovered that the gap was more like a succession of dry falls chock full of big boulders and a whole lot of vegetation.
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At this point, being a solo hiker with no cell phone reception, the decision was made to start heading back down the slope, might as well go see if as I suspected, the white truck seen by Sunrise Rock way in the distance, was in fact parked there so that a park worker could yank down the replacement Mojave Cross. By the way, it turned out that I was right to be suspicious, in
fact while I was sitting there on the slope, the little dot I was seeing was in fact,
the cross coming down.

Here are some other photos looking around up there.
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And another.
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That is Clark Mountain way in the distance, right side, and I believe that is the Kingston Range straight ahead, where
Horsethief Springs are located at.

Coming back down was a real treat, I was so happy that I brought that hiking staff, which was invaluable in using to slow down on the descent as well as checking on the condition of the talus slope. There was lots of loose rock, the smaller rock surface or scree, was much better to stand on. I also quickly discovered that the key is do switchbacks and not to go straight down.

Here is a video showing some of my descent.

Watch those loose rocks! You don’t want to roll all the way down the mountain slope.

Anyway I did make my way back down the side of the mountain and headed to the road, and back to Sunrise Rock, the now without a cross atop it Sunrise
Rock, and to my car.

I hope you enjoyed this post, make sure you read the next one with the shocking news that the longtime chairman of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope,
announced his departure from that post today.

Come back anytime you like, tell a friend about the hot cup of joe you got here.

See you soon.


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