KINGSTON PEAK (7,323’) AND CLARK MOUNTAIN (7,929’) March 29 to April 3, 1984

Signing up for a DPS trip, I gained the company of one sick fellow from the local chapter. He had been urged to see a doctor, and reported undergoing treatment. Assuming he was manageable, and truly wished to tag along on my desert exploratory, I took him in my car. Driving down the Central Valley freeway, we lodged in the Bakersfield area, as he didn’t like camping.

Motoring to CA 58, and then Interstate 15, I wished to try Old Dad Mountain in the Mojave. I had some directions, but would presumably find the way. We motored along on likely dirt roads, and I saw the peak was near. Gambling on how solid a sandy roadway was, I decided to turn around, and then got stuck. It took some three hours to extricate myself, jacking up the buried wheel and putting rocks and brush underneath. With a push, I finally got out O.K.

Giving that up, we went to Kelso Dunes to wander a bit. I had a sight driving north. The next morning, we met the DPS group at the roadhead for Kingston Peak. This was a desolate spot north of the Interstate, found with good directions. The leader took the group up, with plenty of desert scenery. My companion followed the leader close behind, and the leader commented to me about his speed. I took many pictures, and then we topped a long ridge. This we followed to the top.

After a rest and photos, we started back down. We got some few pellets of hail, and clouds. These hikes are meant for speed, and they do not like slow people. I was stopping to take pictures, and sometimes I had to find the way myself.

Back to the cars, we motored off to the trailhead for Clark Mountain, just off the Interstate. At camp, I had a nice view of the Mescal Mountains across the way.

My companion wasn’t a climber, so stayed at the car for our class 3 climb of Clark. I was left behind, and had to follow by my own navigation at one point. I caught the group at the class 3 section, and managed to do the short scramble. It is a trail from about there to the top, and I captured the views.

After more sights, then back to the cars, we parted ways, and I left to drive the two of us to Death Valley. We took CA 127 north. Camping in the Greenwater Valley, we then toured Death Valley, seeing Scotty’s Castle and Ubehebe Crater. Taking CA 190 west, I shot a few more photos, and we wound up in Bishop for our last night. He took a motel room, and I camped.

I got some cash for gas, and dropped him off at his place. It had been a good long drive, a favor that he’d never return. Just the way the local club is. I later soloed to the desert, more familiar with the roads and byways, enjoying it much more. The DPS made for many more peak adventures, and it was worth the aggravation from this hiker to start my desert climbs with them. He hadn’t known enough to have sufficient water containers, and he put some slight scratches into my then new car, by careless stupidity.

With patience, I bring along many hikers from the Northland, and it is just for my love for the desert that I have to do this. I can now travel solo, and like it even more. They have always said that they hated the desert, so they don’t go with me anymore. I’ve seen most of it now, and the DPS is less active and more inclined toward non-peak activities. I was lucky to have seen and hiked so much, with no big problems, and safety first.