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!

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