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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Martinez Mountain and Sheep Mountain Messages in this topic - RSS

tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289


4/13/2021
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289
First, the cougar. My friend Henry and did a loop down Cactus Spring Trail to Martinez, then cross country to Sheep Mountain. On the way back from Sheep, we walked up on a cougar resting in the shade of a small tree. The cougar was 15' away and bolted directly away from us at high speed. It was a surreal 2 second encounter. We checked the rear view frequently the rest of the way back, but don't think it followed us. First time meeting a cougar in the wild while hiking.


This was a very long hike. The Cactus Spring Trail was nicely maintained. Soft sand and wooden markers to keep you generally on track. Horsethief Creek had some water, but it wasn't flowing. We took the trail to the southeast ridge of Martinez, then followed a use trail with many cairns over 3 false summits. The summit plateau was filled with tall boulder piles and the high point was a 40' stack, requiring several solid class 3 moves. There was an ammo box on top with a register from 2003, only about 1/3 full. It's popular with peakbaggers being on both the Hundred Peaks List and Desert Peaks List. Awesome views of Rabbit, Toro, Asbestos, and Joshua Tree.






Rabbit from Martinez


Toro



We descended from Martinez down the main gully, full of boulders and run off. The rocks weren't too loose, but it was steep enough that it required attention. Then it was two miles cross country to Sheep Mountain. The high desert here is semi-open with cactus, junipers, cedars, and manzanita with enough space to weave in between. There were many ridges and bumps that prevented us from seeing Sheep until we were nearly there. GPS helped. Sheep was a walk up with a benchmark and standard HPS register. We followed a different ridge down and had more bumps to get over to get back to the trail. We were about a mile from the trail when we met the cougar. Once back on the trail, it was 4 miles and about 700' up to get back to the trailhead. In late afternoon, we found a small red diamond rattler (my favorite kind of rattler). Martinez was a spectacular mountain. Highly recommended!






Martinez from Sheep Mountain


Trying to get back to the trail


Red diamond, my favorite brand of rattlesnake
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448


4/13/2021
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448
Nice report. I really want to explore Martinez at some point, when it's cooler.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


4/13/2021
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
I really like this area but have never gone further than Cactus Spring.
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289


4/13/2021
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289
Brian wrote:
I really like this area but have never gone further than Cactus Spring.



Yeah, I really like it, too. Asbestos is the same kind of terrain. Large plants, small trees, but with space in between, and piles of stacked boulders.
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Britain
Britain
Posts: 519


4/13/2021
Britain
Britain
Posts: 519
Nice report. Ran into a cougar a while back but at a larger distance. Unsettling to say the least.

--
Cant drive 55
Britain
http://icorva.com
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 370


4/13/2021
Buford
Buford
Posts: 370
Nice report. Cactus Spring has been on my radar for a while and your report makes it look even more worthwhile.

Awesome on the Cougar sighting.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 600


4/14/2021
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 600
Nice loop hike. Seeing the cougar was a plus. Matches your Icon. I have climbed up the the peak 2x via the normal route with the double false peaks. We had talked about climbing up one of those north face chutes. You went down them! Holly smokes! Did you move any boulders going down? Ditto on the snakes. They all seem to be rattlers'.

btw. Martinez and Cactus spring trail area is one of my favorite areas this time of year. I have never seen horse thief creek dry.
edited by rockhopper on 4/14/2021
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289


4/14/2021
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 289
rockhopper wrote:
Nice loop hike. Seeing the cougar was a plus. Matches your Icon. I have climbed up the the peak 2x via the normal route with the double false peaks. We had talked about climbing up one of those north face chutes. You went down them! Holly smokes! Did you move any boulders going down? Ditto on the snakes. They all seem to be rattlers'.

btw. Martinez and Cactus spring trail area is one of my favorite areas this time of year. I have never seen horse thief creek dry.

edited by rockhopper on 4/14/2021


The north face chute we went down is actually considered an optional route by the Sierra Club. The boulders are mostly stable and there is nothing technical. Not sure about the the other chutes. It gets a little tedious after 1000' or so, but it takes you directly below the summit.

It is such a cool transition zone between the desert and higher mountains. For convenience, I wish that creek was about half way to Martinez, ha.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890


4/14/2021
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890
Congrats on seeing a lion and a great trip report!

--
http://www.coyotelearning.org
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