Carrizo Plain National MonumentClick for map.
I have been thinking I might return to Caliente Mountain for a climb of it rather than a walk over from the side of it. I am not too keen on the traditional really hot day for it, though. I signed up for another Hundred Peaks Section hike, this time lead by the Doggetts and Jin Oak. At least one Simpson did it the week before, but I did not get signed up to that one. The weather promises to be stunning: a little cloudy and cool although with just a touch of a possibility of a chance of rain. Well, maybe a little more than that. It might rain. The early morning drive started into a stunning sunrise full of clouds and the spaces needed to let the light hit those clouds. We parked a little further from the mountain than expected at a new locked gate that sprang up a few years back, not quite using the parking area designated by some pipes on the opposite side of the dirt road.
|The gate across the fading road at our start. Caliente Mountain is the high point toward the left.|
With our boots on and our gear set for hiking and the sign in complete, we walk around the gate and fencing blocking our vehicular progress and set out across the grasses on a shortcut of the fading road that loops a bit to the north. The drying grasses have just enough moisture left in them to leave our socks alone with their sharp seeds. There are only a few flowers mixed in, generally in clumps.
|A bi-colored composite and a very puffy chia variety among the not-quite-dry grass.|
A gully gives us a bit of trouble in the crossing. Higher up, it is a step across as long as one can find stable footing on the sides. Further down, it requires a bit of climbing. Maybe down by the road it is fairly smooth. We get back on the road as we come to what was once the end of a drive for this hike. The gate here looks more official, having signs like "administrative use only" and a handy hiker gate to the side. Now we follow the faint road upward until if stops, having gotten... where? There is a decaying piece of machined wood, wider than a typical fence post, to the side and otherwise nothing. Our stop is high above, so we climb the hill ahead past another old fence to the ridge line.
|Looking across the plain. The old fence line below is a bit burned.|