Calico Peaks - January 25, 2009

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Rockslide
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Calico Peaks - January 25, 2009

Post by Rockslide » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm

I was hoping to find a moderate trek on my exit day. The original plan was to hike up Epaulet Peak. This was a little longer than I wanted, but I could still have gotten home in time to take care of some pressing matters...like making the house payment. The book "Desert Summits" describes an old mining road which can be taken to shorten the lenghty approach across the alluvial fan. I made two passes along the Greenwater Valley road, and never found a turnoff for the old mining road. I think it's out of business, which meant that the hike had suddenly gotten several miles longer.

Fortunately, I had a backup plan, which was to explore the area on my map which was described as "Calico Peaks." This is immediately to the south and east of Epaulet Peak. The wind was blowing pretty strong and steady as I crossed the fan, but the air was crisp and clear, like I had been warped a couple centuries back in time. Crossing the fan took less time than I thought - I had good luck with fan crossings on this trip - and soon I was working my way over to the summit ridge. Then I found myself ascending a steep slope, heading directly into an increasingly vigorous wind. It reminded me of the way my parents used to get to school, only I had shoes on, and there was no snow.

At the top, the wind was howling, rain jacket flapping like a humming bird's wings. Nearly lost my footing a couple of times while standing still, and had I been inclined to do so, I think I could have spit the entire distance I had hiked. I took a few dozen steps back down the ridge, and the wind mellowed out considerably. There was also a good sitting rock, so I had a tin of sardines and some water, and enjoyed the view before heading back.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9642066@N0 ... 0693/show/

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Looking east at the Calico Peaks, across the fan, which I had partially crossed at this point.

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Looking northeast, across Greenwater Valley.

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In the center of the photo the sunlight is reflecting off something. I never did figure out what. I don't think there are any roads in that area.

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Epaulet Peak. On the far, right-hand side of the picture is the end of the fan, which goes nearly to the top of the peak.
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."

SteveH
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Post by SteveH » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:47 am

I had to look at my map to see exactly where Calico Peaks were. Looks like a great area. You sure did a lot of hiking on back to back days, definitely making the most of your time and choosing some great destinations.

How long would you say it takes you to get from Bakersfield to Furnace Creek? About 4-5 hours?

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:11 pm

Some of the photos from this and the other hikes you did in the area are really astounding. You had awesome light and weather. I am intensely envious. Many of those peaks are on my list to do some day, though I was thinking to do Epaulet from near Salsbury pass - doesn't look so bad? I guess Zdon's route is easy from the Greenwater Valley side?

Another nice and easy peak in the area is Jubilee, just south of Jubilee Pass. Really great views for such an easy peak (90 minute or so to bet up).

Looks like you had a super trip!

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Post by Rockslide » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:53 pm

How long would you say it takes you to get from Bakersfield to Furnace Creek? About 4-5 hours?
That's about right, depending upon the route, the conditions, and how well you honor the speed limit.
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."

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Re: Calico Peaks - January 25, 2009

Post by MojaveGeek » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:52 pm

Just to update this (now nearly 10 year old thread!) which I came across in a google search. The old road to the back side of Epaulet from the Greenwater Valley road exists but is, indeed, closed, and somewhat hidden from the driveable road. It is there, though, and you might see a green wilderness area road closed sign. The road makes an excellent trail to the base of Epaulet. At one point there is a left 90 degree fork fork but it is clearly marked with rocks. There is also a lot of broken glass there; it must have been an old camp site. The second road gradually fades with an old fuel tin from time to time in very scenic grasslands with a very gentle slope, until the slog uphill starts. This is an excellent if a bit long hike.

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Sun reflecting in photo

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:29 am

Thanks for bringing this old thread back to life Mojave Geek. Finding that object reflecting a bright spot of sunlight from the Calico Peaks image that "Rockslide" provided is now on my bucket list. I hope that it is not another plane crash site!
Life begins in Death Valley

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