Granite Mountains #2, Spectre Point
By: Maris Valkass
Twenty nine hikers signed in Saturday morning at the meeting place 11 mi east of the junction of Hwys 62 and 177. From there we went south on a good dirt road (on AAA map) for 2 mi after which it became sandier and in a 1/2 mi went into a wash where most of the 2-wheelers promptly got stuck. Fortunately we had enough person-power to physically lift the cars out, so we were not too concerned. After several futile attempts to find a passage, we left the cars where they were and were on our way for Granite #2 at 9:30. It took us about 2.5 hrs to walk to the base of the mountain, so we estimated that it was 5 mi from the cars.
We climbed up the ridge of peak 2711 directly to the summit without any problem. (It is the ridge just left of the major canyon). Last person the top at 2:30. Two people stayed at the cars from the beginning, two elected to go back after reaching the base of the mountain. Everyone else got the peak. Ron Jones spotted a bighorn ram with the horns going one full turn. Owen Malloy also saw one on our way back.
On the way down one person developed leg cramps. Since it was close to sunset, we decided to split the group with Sherry Harsh and Henry Heusingveld leading the majority back. Ron Jones and I stayed with the other group. The 2.5 hour walk was quite pleasant. The stars were very bright and the new moon was pretty. We did not have any problem in finding the cars with our flashlights. The leader had taken an accurate bearing and we homed right in. Ron Young, Susan Carter and the Keatings had a red highway flare going in case we wanted to use it as a guide, but we did not need it. We were at the cars by 7:30.
After getting the cars back to solid ground, happy hour commenced. Besides the usual goodies that were contributed, Adrienne Knute brought some home marinated vegetables that were out of this world. Susan Carter treated us with home made chocolate chip cookies. In the meantime Ron Jones had the fire going, and lot of happiness was being spread around in green containers. After dinner most of us sat by the campfire and listened to several poem recitals and solos of Pomona College songs (Is Pomona next to Podunk?) being belted out by Bob Michael. Thanks to Claire Beckman, who provided us with song sheets, we did not have to listen to any more solos, but we were able harmonize beautifully late into the night.
Sunday morning we got up by 7:00. After Sherry Harsh had her usual breakfast of damp potato chips we were on our way to Spectre roadhead.
Four people already had the peak, so they went home. The roadhead north of the peak was easy to find. You travel west on Hwy 62 for about 10 mi from the junction of 177. Then approximately .2 mi past highway mileage marker SB 73, a dirt road comes out from the left. Take that road (it is good for all cars) for 3.5 mi to a concrete slab which is in the mouth of the canyon in which you want to start. Park here, it is also a goad place to camp, and go for it.
We followed the large canyon in south easterly direction across the saddle and down about 300 ft. This is just about the point where you intersect with the canyon coming from the south west. Turn right and enter the south west canyon without loosing too much elevation. Go up the canyon, boulder hopping all the way. You will go through two bowls, from the third bowl you will see the ridge and Spectre slightly to the left. There are two other peaks of about the same height, one to the left and one to the right. Spectre is ahead and slightly to the left. We reached the summit by 12:30. Everyone who started made it. Three people decided to lounge by the cars. We were back by 4:00.
Edna Erspamer left her bottle on the peak (I don't know what was in it, but she could hardly do without it) so if you find it please give it back to her.
Mark Gunion climbed his first DPS peak. I hope he liked it and that he joins us on many others. Carmelita Saras was on her second DPS hike in 3 weeks, she must like it. Glad to have you with us.
After the hike we all went to Armnando's Mexican Restaurant in 29 Palms for dinner. Food and service were good.
Overall the trip was excellent. The weather was perfect and the scenery was exceptional. And as always on DPS hikes, one could not find a better company to be with.
My thanks to Ron Jones and Sherry Harsh for assisting me on the trip as well as leading in the entertainment at the campfire. Many thanks also to everyone for helping to push and pull the cars out of the sand. Thanks also to Gene Olson who provided me with fine directions for the peaks.
List of participants in sign-in order:
Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the|
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides
|DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section|