Bighorn Mountain Wilderness
The second day of peak bagging with the Hundred Peaks Section hikers begins with a more through maze of dirt roads just a little bit north of the ones from yesterday. The first hint that we are about to have a somewhat longer hike than advertised comes when our leaders, who are driving an unfamiliar car, are discussing if the junction we have arrived at is the one they mean to park at. Whatever the answer, we are parked and start off down the road on foot. After a flat and easy mile, we have our answer when we come to the usual parking area. We continue on on roads for a short while before deciding to cut across the desert for a wash and a little more direct climbing than can be found on road. And as the view opens up, the camera proves to have managed to drain its battery overnight even though it was off. The backup, which has not been charged since June, is quite flat as well, so there are no photographs for these Sunday hikes either.
We clamber across the wash and follow it up to meet the road again. In a bit of humor, someone has moved the "open route" sign from the road to the rocky entrance to the wash below it. We allow the road to wander on to whatever old prospect it was built for and continue climbing. The way gradually gets steeper. There is discussion that the route on the left is very slippery while the route on the right stays fairly easy. We seem to be splitting the middle. It is not slippery from scree, but there are a lot of big rocks to navigate. The complicated route tends to slow us down.
Gradually, things flatten out, but the elusive peak keeps being just a little bit further. The route, just one of many marked by cairns, gradually turns into a trail as we get near the top. The top itself is a flat area big enough for a helipad, but naturally that way. I can find both reference marks and the station easily, although some look more like "EEKS" than "MEEKS". Fallen trees form a rough ring around the edges of the flat and the group has generally found a place on that ring to enjoy one bit of view or another.
Feeling pressed for time, partly from the extra mile, we head down after a short time. We have a different leader for the downward trek and this time keep a little more to what is now our left where the route is supposed to be easier. This misses just about every big rock replacing it with a gradual hill slope. This really would have been an easier climb.
As the slope flattens out, we once again find the road. Just as before, we leave it to follow the wash, crossing it once more, then cross country to the road we came in along. We go quickly down the flat extra length anticipating lunch and the next peak.
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 13 Dec 2015