Sunday, October 21, 2012

Juniper Flats

Did a 20-miler today through the Juniper Flats and Stubbe Springs area of Joshua Tree National Park today.  I've been through the area before to get to Quail Mountain (see my Quail Mountain post), but this time I went a little further, and took some pictures of the area that burned during the fire earlier in the year.  It's very interesting to see the cycle of fire then rebirth that takes place all the time throughout nature.

View of Little San Bernadinos from Juniper Flats

San Jacinto in the distance

Clouds rolling over to range

Trail Down into the canyon

California Riding and Hiking Trail through Juniper Flats.

Burnt Juniper Bush in Juniper Flats from the 2012 fire. 
Scorched Joshua Trees near Quail Springs.

Burnt Joshua Tree Near Juniper Flats.

Scorched Joshua tree...struck by lightning?

Good run overall, and it was beautiful weather.  Amazing, how in a place like this, even if I run in areas I've run before, I always find something different to see!

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quail Mountain

Took on peak bagging Quail Mountain today, with fairly easy success.  The difficult part, well, not difficult...the tedious part was just getting to the base of the mountain from where I started.  The run to the base of the mountain before starting the ascent was along much of the California Riding and Hiking Trail, at the Juniper Flats Backcountry board.

There comes a point when you have to turn off the trail and just do some cross-country running/hiking through soft sand and scrub-brush.  Then you pick your line to the top.  There are several different routes you can take, varying from either washes or ridges/saddles pretty much all the way to the peak.  A picked a peak to get up to the summit that was on the southeast side (book says it's the easiest route), but apparently I picked the wrong wash to climb.  It wasn't that bad, but after I hit the peak, I could see the much easier wash to take from the top, and that's the way I took down.

All in all, still a great trip, and a chance to bag the highest peak in Joshua Tree National Park.  I like that this one doesn't have a direct trail up to the top, simply because it makes it a more solitary trip.  I don't think there would have been many other people up there today anyway, as when I started at just before sunrise, the temperature was 41 degrees.  It was definitely chilly, and not something I was all that prepared for; some gloves would have been nice!

Here's the stats on Quail Mountain as per my Garmin 60CSx GPS:

Peak:  5794' (5813' by the book)
Total Ascent:  1626'
Total Descent:  1582'
Distance RT:  13.02 mi
Time of Ascent:  1hr42min
Time of Descent:  1hr18min

Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park

Sunrise Near Juniper Flats

California Riding and Hiking Trail - Juniper Flats

California Riding and Hiking Trail - Juniper Flats

California Riding and Hiking Trail

Fire burned area from earlier in the year starting to get some life back.

Climbing the wash to the summit.

Lots of Obstacles in the wash
Rock Cairn at Summit of Quail Mountain

Corps of Engineers Survey plate, and can with Summit Register.

Signing Summit Register w/time.  First one to sign register since May, probably due to the fact that area was just reopened about a week ago to allow the the fire area to restore.

Summit facing west with Mt San Jacinto in the distance

Summit facing NNE towards "Wonderland of Rocks"

I'll tag this peak again, but maybe next time I'll come from the North to change it up.  All I had with me for cold weather gear was a wind breaker, and next time I think I'll pack a beanie and some gloves as well, because it was chilly up top!

Another great trek overall, and I highly recommend it to anyone.  Great way to spend between 3-4 hrs of your morning (less if you're faster!).

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Split Rock Loop Trail

No running today, just a nice, enjoyable stroll on the Split Rock Loop Trail as a family.  Tyler (my son) was tough to keep reigned in!  He loved just taking off down the trail.  If he fell down, he just got back up and said "I'm o.k.," and kept going.  He's going to be a little trail runner yet!

Split Rock

Tyler under split rock.

Amazing rock formations all along the trail

Just chillin...Hurry up Daddy!

Great View of Surrounding valley.


Great view of rock formations

Small slit canyon through rocks.

It's called "Tulip Rock."  Get it?

Perfect size seat...with a Popeye face.

More great rocks.
It's only a two mile loop, but I definitely see myself getting back out there for some laps.  Pretty tame trail, fairly flat, it'd be a great way to get some easy miles in just to relax in the environment.

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ryan Mountain

I tackled Ryan Mountain today.  Much faster than Queen Mountain yesterday, as Ryan actually has an established trail starting from two different spots.  The first trailhead is in the Ryan Mountain parking lot.  The second (where I started), is across from the campsite #6 at the Sheep Pass Campground.  The Sheep Pass Trail adds another .75 miles to the route up to the summit.

Here's the stats on Ryan Mountain measured over the course of the route from Sheep Pass trailhead to summit and back, and then via road to Ryan Mountain Trailhead, using my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx:

Summit Elevation:  5466' (marker at summit says 5457')
Trailhead (Sheep Pass):  4404'
Total Ascent:  1065'
Total Descent:  1190'
TH to summit:  29:36
Summit to TH: 19:40
Total time:  49:16

There were some pretty epic views from the summit, and I think they can pretty much explain themselves through pictures.

Start Point at Sheep Pass

Rock Formation Near Ryan Mt Trailhead

What most of the trail looks like.

About Halfway up facing west.

Looking back down the trail.

Summit time.

Summit Facing Mt San Jacinto

Cairn at Summit of Ryan Mt.  America!

Tough to see but the summit of Mt Gorgorino hidden by a front moving in

Don't step off on the way's steeper than it looks!

And back to the bottom.

It took me longer to get back down than I thought it would, since it took me less than 30 minutes to power hike/run up the mountain.  However, overall it is pretty rocky and technical, even if short.  Trying to go too fast would have likely ended up with me flying off one of the switchbacks, so I opted to play it safe this time.  I'm sure I'll attempt this one again, probably several times, because I know even for me, that time is pretty soft.

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Queen Mountain

Decided for my "run" today that I was going to go for my first of many "peak bagging" adventures here in Joshua Tree National Park.  Today I chose Queen Mountain.  It's a totally cross-country route, there is no established trail.  There is a preferred "route" to ascend, but I'm pretty sure I didn't take it.

Queen Mountain from the parking lot.

The stats on Queen Mountain:

Starting Elevation from Parking Lot:  4480'
Peak Elevation:  5687'
Est Round Trip Door to Door:  4-5 miles
Total ~gain:  1207'

I don't know for sure the actual elevation gain and loss, or the distance was over the course of the trip, as my Garmin 305 decided to shit out on me, as it has seemed to do on multiple occasions over the past few weeks (I here Suunto calling my name).  Most of the info/stats are gained from the book On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park by Patty Furbish.  There was obviously more climbing up and down than just going straight up and down the mountain, simply because you have to cross/climb several washes and rock slide areas.

There was far more scrambling and bouldering involved than I expected, especially the further up the mountain I got.  It became pretty slow moving climbs, rather than quick scrambling up the mountain.  I still had a great time though, and got some amazing views.

I think I'll try and get at least one peak per month in the park.  Most are only between 5-6k feet, but it's nice to change it up a little!

Example of Most of the Climbing Sections

Cave on side that had some Desert Bighorn droppings inside..didn't see any, though.

Panoramic Facing towards Palm Springs w/ Mt San Jacinto in distance.

Route Markers?

View from just shy of summit facing 29 Palms.