Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cave Mountain Hike - Again

Last weekend I hiked Cave Mountain again.  I've hiked it many times now and I've been to the summit 3 or 4 times.  This time I took Luke up the easy route.  In 2008 we hiked a steep ridge line from the northwest side.  That was hard.  On this hike, we took the green route shown on the topo map here.  Our previous hike was the blue route.  I don't recommend that unless you're in good shape and enjoy route finding.  As it is, the green route also requires a little route finding.  But just a little.  Here's a photo of the highway looking north toward Baker from the summit.

The weather started out fine, with a breeze and temps in the high 70s.  It took us about 2 hours to reach the top.  By the time we started down, the wind had picked up and it was very very windy at times.

I've marked our route in several of the photos as an experiment.  Sorry if it's annoying.   We began by hiking up the 4wd trail toward a saddle.  To avoid crossing unnecessary hills on the ridgeline, we turned left short of the saddle and cut across the desert to reach a small ridge that leads to the main southern ridgeline.  Looking back from that ridgeline, you can see the use trail we followed.

Lookup up from there, the summit is kinda in view.

From this position, there are many choices.  You can go sraight up the steep gully, but I prefer to take a traverse.

Then there's a large relatively flat area.  Again, you can choose any route you like, but I prefer the less-steep traverse to the saddle on the left.

Here's a shot looking back from about midway along that traverse.

Then the highway is visible from the saddle.

The route up is easier than it looks.  It's pretty easy to hike up those boulders.

I like these cube shaped boulders.  They are huge.  About 20 feet on a side.

From above the cubes, this shot looks down on the ridgeline that's the blue route in my map.

Luke found the summit register.  He even signed it.  I almost never sign those.  Coincidentally, Bob Burd hiked the hill recently.  He had also hiked Kelso Peak shortly before Luke and I did last year.  Bob took a different route up Cave Mountain.  Here's the map from his trip report.  He took one similar to what Andy Zdon published in his book Desert Summits.  I think that route is harder and longer.

And another shot of the highway.

The breezy day made it hazy.  For comparison, here's a similar photo I took in 2008 with a different camera.

Monday, April 15, 2013

LR3 Hood Sensor

In response to a request from a commenter to a previous post, I'll post some photos I took when I installed a new hood sensor on my LR3.  Like many others, the alarm was sounding randomly due to an intermittent failure of the microswitch in this sensor.  The hood sensor is attached to the passenger side hood latch.

To release the sensor, you need to press on some plastic retention tabs that are accessible via small holes on the front face of the hood latch.  Just press with the end of a screwdriver.

The next photo shows the sensor and the two tabs mentioned above.

The wires connected to the sensor can also be easily disconnected.  It's just a bit harder to reach behind the sensor.  Press down on a small plastic tab on the connector and pull away from the sensor - toward the engine.

I hope that helps others a bit.

UPDATE: For completeness, here are links to my other posts on this topic...

Land Rover Hood Sensor - Take 2

Land Rover Hood Sensor

New links for the replacement switch

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Hiking Silver Peak

Last week I hiked Silver Peak.  It's probably not the one you're thinking of.  Summitpost has many Silver Peaks listed, but not this one.  The Silver Peak I hiked is a 6300 foot peak in the Granite Mountains on the southern side of the Mojave National Preserve.  Here's a google map centered on the peak.

The weather was great.  The photo above is taken on the dirt road to the trailhead.  Silver Peak is the tree covered peak in the distance on the right side.  I used the information in Andy Zdon's book, Desert Summits, along with  As usual, I also used the USGS 7.5 quad map (Bighorn Basin). 

This was my first hike of the year.  I chose this peak thinking it'd be an easy warmup for my hiking season.  I was wrong.  Apparently my fitness level is quite poor.  I reached the summit, but was fighting off cramps in one hamstring for most of the day.

The hike is roughly 9 miles round trip with 2400 feet in elevation gain.  It took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the top.  I descended slowly nursing my leg, so my total hiking time was 5 hours.  

Here are the maps I used.  The first is taken from the hikespeak site.

It's an easy hike, with no route-finding required.  I just followed the old 2-track mining road that ends about 50 feet below the summit.  This must be a popular hike, since I saw a ton of footprints and rock cairns.  Other hikers must be bored to stop and build so many cairns on a trail that doesn't require them.  To be fair, the cairns were helpful on that last 50 feet to the summit, helping to find the easiest route to the top.

From the summit, the Kelso Dunes are visible to the north.

The next photo shows the Providence Mountains in the distance.  The valley I hiked up is on the right.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Desert Drive

After over a month of being sick, I was finally well enough to get out of the house so I went for a drive in the desert.  The fresh air was great.  The weather was great.  

I drove some powerline and fiber optic cable service roads starting around Needles, CA headed northwest.  Practically all of the utility service roads in this part of the state have been signed as BLM open routes.  That's good.  For the most part, they're easy.  Every now and then there are short sections with boulders, or deep soft sand, and there are plenty of washouts and winter rain runoff gullies.  High clearance is definitely recommended for these roads.

Some of the ocotillo and yucca were in bloom adding color to the landscape.

One of the roads services a new natural gas pipeline.  This is the shallowest pipeline I've come across.  Much of it is under a berm along the roadside.  Maybe they saved money by not burying it very deep.

Some of the roads I planned to drive were a bit disused and a bit dodgy, so I changed my route during the day.  

It helps to be flexible when driving these roads.  Some of the ones on my map have even been closed by the BLM, but there's always another nearby.

I saw a lot of mine adits.  

And some cattle.

One of the old mining sites I came across is the Leiser Ray Mine, north of Goffs.  A large foundation still remains at the site.  From the little I could find online, I think the mine was active in the 1890s producing gold, silver, lead, and copper, then again in the early 1900s producing vanadium.  Here's a google map centered on that site.

I also came upon an old ranch house site where I found 4 concrete foundation slabs.  Whoever lived there had a great view.  Here's a google map of that site, just inside the Mojave National Preserve.

I probably took too many photos of the windmill.  Here's a few.