Cave Mountain, Soda Mountain
By: By unknown
On Saturday @ 9:00 am, 14 explorers met at Afton (Cyn.) Campground. Some came in Fri. evening to hear the freight trains go by and the others arrived in the morning. We drove back on the road leading to the highway, making a right turn on the power line road. This road heads toward Cave Mtn. About 1-1/2 to 2 miles in (I forgot to record the exact mileage) the road splits, left goes downhill and into deep sand, take the short right spur up onto a small parking area. Good for about 8-10 cars. We headed almost due East for about a mile, through sand, to a saddle at the low end of the first intersecting ridge. Turn right and follow this ridge uphill. You can traverse left around the knobs on the ridge. A deep gully is on your left. After about one mile, the ridge turns left at the end of the gully. Follow the ridge, heading up to the obvious summit at 3585'. Distance, 3 miles one way, elevation gain - about 1700'. This is a prominent mtn., It has a good view but it isn't very difficult. It is probably one of the sandiest mtns. around. It would be more difficult if the starting point was the campground. We were down after lunch, then 6 people left to go to get Kingston, 2 decided to remain in the area and the remaining 6 decided to pass up a climb of Cat Mtn. and headed for camp on the ZZYZX road.
We had hoped to camp at the springs but were stopped by a chain and sign (Keep Out - closed area - no vehicles). We turned back and made camp on a spur road. Having time before dinner we drove back to the sign and decided to walk into the Springs to have a look-see. By the time we got to the "Boulevard of Dreams", it was apparent that the place was not abandoned. Lights were turned on (It-was still daylight), a motor generator was running, the water fountain was gushing and we saw some people working. We headed towards the buildings. Then it happened. A very up-tight individual came up almost yelling at us to get out - "didn't we see the no-trespass sign", etc.
He was carrying a walkie-talkie (a security guard?). When asked about the springs, he denied knowing anything, he was Just a gov't. employee. His actions made us very curious. Something very hush-hush going on? We left and on the way out a pick-up truck (with Oregon plates?) "offered" us a lift to the gate. Were we being ushered out? On Sunday morning we got an early start and headed for the high point of the Soda Mtns. (3663'). We crossed Hwy. #15 on the ZZYZX north off-ramp. At the end of the pavement, we turned right (1/2 mi.) toward the pole lines. Then left along the pole line road (past the shack on the right) for a total of about 2-1/2 miles, then right on a so-so road heading towards the mtn. There are several bad spots on this section of road. Good clearance vehicles can get in about 2 miles. Then we headed up the wash until it opened up and a good view of the summit appeared on the left. Turn left up a broad wash toward the base of the mtn. At this point, my knee turned me back and Roy Ward ably took over for the summit "dash". The route is fairly obvious. Several chutes lead to the top. The one that starts just to the left of a barred slash is best as it had less large boulders in it. The summit was reached in about 2 hrs. The consensus of opinion was that this was a better climb than Cave. The view was excellent, the wildflowers were very pretty and abundant, the climb was more difficult and interesting. Distance from our roadhead about 2 miles one-way, with about 1800 ft. of gain. When the others left for home, Phil Martin and I went on to Death Valley and on Monday we negotiated Corkscrew Mtn.
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