Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Island - PAH BM

A couple of weeks ago when the temperatures in Ocotillo were hovering around 108 degrees Tom and I set out to try and find the PAH BM which lies on one of the final bumps of the north end of The Island....or so we thought. I was using a link from Peakbagger and CalTopo maps to locate the BM but they are not correct on those maps and Tom and I found out the hard and Hot way that afternoon.

We met up at Millers Garage and took the old highway until it turned into the sandy wash road which would cross under 2 bridges until the road ended at our steep rocky climb up.









At a flat open sandy spot near the top Tom was looking for rock art while I was checking out the view







At the top of peak 1740 we looked around for the PAH BM for about an hour and finally conceded it wasn't there, we must be looking in the wrong place. We found some shade and rested a bit, my thermometer in the shade showed 107.6. While we were discussing where the BM could possibly be my radio caught a SURCOM dispatcher call in a downed motorcycle 5 miles east of Ocotillo Wells and then changed it to 5 miles east of the Border Patrol, Tom says "that would make it in the Salton Sea"....well the rest of the dispatch was kinda funny



It was hot and we called it a day and headed back home empty handed except for the one mylar balloon we found, a Mothers Day left over.

With Tom's help I found the correct listing on the USGS site for the PAH BM and this last weekend I tried again to find it, in another 107 degree day.



I think I finally found a BM that the Monday Manics have not visited..!!





There are some great views of Ocotillo and the windfarm...and a Turkey Vulture flew into view and buzzed close enough I could take a photo with my phone







I decided to try a selfie of me blending in with the desert environment



Driving home I noticed it looked like they finally replaced the Old Highway Cafe sign in Ocotillo

--Original sign


--New sign



Total Mylar Balloons for both trips - 2


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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Island - Inko BM

Headed back out to The Island yesterday to try and find the Inko Benchmark. It is one of several that are not marked on most maps but can be found as peak 2222 on the USGS topo maps. It was another hot day out, probably 100+ again. I parked where some shooting debris was and headed up into the boulders eventually picking up an old indian trail that had several roasting pits along the way. Some great views and this was another seldom visited BM as the register was only 2 small pages with a few sign ins....Monday Manics strike again.







Most of the route was straight thru SDG&E power lines, this is some rugged terrain.





Here is one of the hadnful of roasting pits I found with the powerline tower in the background



Great views up on the Inko peak, here is looking at the windfarm in Ocotillo



Highway 8 west and Devil BM peak



Here is looking south at Myer Valley and Slant Peak



There was one mine pit near the peak, there is supposed to be another but I did not see it.



Pottery, slicks, mortars, metates, etc all checked in this trip as well





Wildlife noted were a variety of birds, lizards, antelope squirrels, the rest had the good sense to hide in the shade for the day.

Total Mylar balloons this trip - 0 (we must be making a dent in them!)


















Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Island

When you drive the 8 highway between Ocotillo and Jacumba you can see "The Island" between the East & West bound lanes of the highway. There is one exit on the The Island named Mountain Springs. There is a lot of rugged terrain to explore from that exit, Devils Canyon, In-Ko-Pah Gorge, Myer Creek to name just a few places. This trip I decided to go try and find the Devil benchmark located on a peak just east of the Devils Canyon #2 bridge. It was a pretty warm day, maybe 100 degrees or so, not too bad. This is a relatively easy BM to get to, my total mileage hiking was about 2.5 miles and elevation gain/loss was about 800'. Most maps will not have this named as Devil BM but it is marked as peak 2532. There are several other BM's in the area to find as well.



There are some great views from the peak, or at least there were...now all you see are wind turbines


The migrants coming from Mexico have used this peak as route north as evidenced by the abandoned backpacks and water bottles everywhere. I am still amazed at some of the remote and rugged areas of the desert I find their discards, they are some tough and determined folks.


Looks like the BM register was established in 1998


Last entry was 2010 so I guess not a very popular destination.
BTW, is there ANYWHERE the Monday Maniacs don't go???


Looking off towards the west you can see the Mountain Springs area, lots of SDG&E power line towers and the infamous Desert View Tower


All of the usual desert suspects were around
Mortars, slicks, pottery and such




Kit Kat Scat


Highway vehicle debris


And of course our BFF of the desert, mylar balloons


Total Mylar Balloons this trip: 2 (1 per mile)

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