Black Mountain #4, Meeks Mountain
7 February 1998
By: Rob Langsdorf
All week the forecast was for storms to pound Southern California for the whole weekend. It made me think about canceling this Wilderness Basics Course Car Camp, or changing it to lower elevations. Friday afternoon it poured and lowered the snow level too much for Granite Peaks, but we decided to go for Black & Meeks.
6:30 am departure Saturday from San Diego. We enjoyed a great breakfast at Grandma's Kitchen in Banning (the new location is on the south side of the street). The Pioneer Town Road from Yucca Valley to Rim Rock had many places where Friday's storm had swept sand and water onto the road. The road through Burns Canyon was still wet.
At 11:25 am, with somewhat sunny skies, we strolled east down the section line (sections 25 & 36) road to Antelope Creek. Clear water flowed along about half our two mile walk down this canyon. But it was shallow enough to provide easy crossings. We climb up the side canyon in section 29 to the point where it forks, then up the SW ridge to the summit. On top the snow was about 3 inches deep. This register is failing apart, though the can set is still good. On our trip return we took a more direct route from the summit to the junction of the side canyon with Antelope Creek.
The sky was getting much more threatening when we returned to our vehicles. So we headed for lower ground north of Landers. We found relief from the wind on the east side of Spy Mountain in a trashed BLM site at only 2500'. After leisurely consuming Mexican food around a campfire, we hit the sack just in time to spend a comfortable night listening to the rain on our tents.
Sunday we slept in until 8 am to let a drying sun replace the rain. Soon a nearby lake produced a fog bank. As we ate breakfast, this fog lifted and the lake was gone.
There were many mud puddles on the drive into Meeks, but it only required high clearance to get over one rocky spot. We saw no indications of the rumored Red Stakes anywhere along the road into the burned down cabin. It appeared that the jeep road, which is followed for the first part of the climb, had been used recently.
Our climb of Meeks was warm in the sunshine, but the wind turned cool on the summit. The mountains to the west were covered with snow. I had asked about doing this peak from the southwest. But there is a private dwelling, with about 6 vehicles around it, only .3 miles from the summit. Probably not a wise route to use.
Our drive home was dry until we got to I-10. Then it poured most of the way home. Thanks to Craig Denson, who assisted me. The WBC students who came were: Mark Brown, Joe Risser and his son, Nick. The rain had scared five others away.
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