Providence Mountains, New York Mountains
By: Bep Bingham
At 7 AM Sat several car loads of people gathered in Amboy to start one of the longest dirt road caravans in DPS history!
Six miles east of the town we turned left on the Kelso road, in which area the Section has done much climbing. To the east of the road we visioned the colorful Marble Mtns and a bit farther on the left the Old Dads and the Granites came into view.
Some outlaws decided to climb Granite instead of the high point of 6612'. The majority turned right on the Hidden Hills road. The nearby mine tenants were all outside to see what was coming in their direction, but fortunately for them it did not stop. The caravan made another turn to the north and shortly halted when the road fizzled out. Here 22 hikers had the usual introductions and began the hike by following a sandy wash toward a saddle to the north. We did not go all the way up into the saddle however started climbing more directly into the direction of the peak. When the first pinyons were reached, an ensuing breeze made the climb more pleasant. Snow-capped Gorgonio, San Jac, Telescope and Charleston were easily recognized. Almost just as white were the Kelso sand dunes along with Soda Lake, just south of Baker.
The return trip was made in good time. Our leader demonstrated how to fall into a cactus but not many others followed his suggestion.
Back to the cars, we kept on the hidden Hills road in a NE direction until the intersection of the paved road to Essex was met. Instead of using this good rood and then later the road to Fenner, we decided on a shortcut route to Fenner. Don't you do it! This was a mistake!
Miraculously all the ears, people and dog survived the many, many bumps and it was a relief to hit the pavement again at Goffs. Here again we began on a dirt road, this time nicely graded. The vegetation gradually changed as we reached the higher desert country, becoming forests of Joshua tree and spanish Bayonets, making what we think worthy of New York Mtns National Monument status.
It was 29 degrees as we made camp at nightfall so a campfire was in order. On Sunday 28 hikers started up an old mining road as far as the mine and then up to an impressive rock massif, which as usual is not the high point. The peak is more to the west.
The summit block took a little while to figure out, some doing it the hard way and others an easier event. Even the latter was low 3rd class and a fixed rope was used on the descent for safety. The skinny climbers were the better off since there was rock squeezing through a narrow opening.
All in a11, it was a fun climb and the very cooperative group even though we logged about 108 miles of dirt road jockeying.
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