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Solo Backpack to Whale Peak Messages in this topic - RSS

hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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11/7/2010
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
Posts: 423
I loaded my backpack into the Desert TJ and headed out for a quick trip up Whale Peak. I got to the beginning of the route which is up in the valley a few miles in on Pinyon Mountain Road.


The weather report forecasted wind of 40 MPH but the hike up was beautiful with very little wind. The rain from a couple weeks ago let some of the grasses grow a little earlier than usual. This pic is from the climb up the slope above the first valley you cross.


Soon I was high enough that I was surrounded by Pinyon Pine trees. Whale Peak is called an island in the sky. The trees at this elevation are amazing to see. Views like these are what make this my favorite hike in ABDSP.






About half way to the summit I passed the route coming up from Smuggler Canyon. This route starts near the pictographs in Blair Valley. It is pretty rugged down this gorge. You can also see the difference in vegetation on north facing and south facing slopes in this pic.


It took one and a half hours to reach the summit. When I signed in the summit register, I was the first signer in over a month. I thought this was kind of strange since the weather has been pretty good this fall. About the time I got to the summit the wind started blowing hard and so after reading through old summit register books I headed for my favorite campsite on the summit plateau. In this site I would be protected from the wind by large boulders and a wall of Pinyon trees. The wind howled all night but I was nice and warm and wind free, for the most part, in my protected site. No tent for this trip.


This is the valley that is west of Whale Peak, west of S-2, and at the base of the Laguna Mountains. It became part of ABDSP a couple years ago. It was just opened last year to bicycles, hikers, and I think horses. I hope to make some time soon to get into this area. It looks very cool from up on Whale Peak.


The stars were fantastic. I saw several shooting stars and satellites. There was no moon so it was quite dark. I left early Sunday morning for the hike down the mountain. The number of ducks along the trail was more than I have ever seen on this mountain. Also someone decided to leave other trail markers like these hanging from many trees along the route.


So if you have never been up Whale Peak by this particular route, now is the time to go. The ducks and the ribbons in the trees will make it easy to find your way.

Unfortunately not all the Pinyon trees are doing so well. The lack of rain in the past few years (not counting 2009-2010) has really taken its toll on some of the trees. Let's hope we get another wet winter in the desert this year.


One last pic... dinner on Saturday night was chicken tacos. This is becoming one of my favorite desert backpacking meals. No cooking and no water required and I get two of these tacos from one packet of southwest chicken, a couple of Trader Joe handmade tortillas, a couple of cheese sticks, some lettuce, and some hot suace packets. I get the chicken near the canned tuna at Vons. I keep the lettuce and cheese in an insulated water bottle holder along with one quart of frozen Gatorade. It keeps nicely and then I have a cold drink too, always nice in the desert.


All in all it was a great trip. The wind was strong but not a problem. This is hands down my favorite hike/climb in ABDSP.
<em>edited by hikerdmb on 11/8/2010</em>
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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11/8/2010
dsefcik
dsefcik
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That is a great report, thanks! This last weekend was great weather in the desert as proved by all of the visitors and road traffic in Anza Borrego. I also went out for the 4th weekend in a row to ABDSP. My son, dog and I went out late Saturday and camped at Bow Willow and then Sunday we did a full drive tour of the park arriving home late Sunday evening. I have not seen the whole park in a long time and was definitely worth all of the driving.

Hikerdmb, those are great pictures, it makes me want to get up to the top of Whale Peak even more. I am planning on going out again this weekend for 3 days but have no solid plan yet, I am torn between going up Whale Peak, going back out to Inner Pasture and Red Top or hiking out to Starfish Cove. If you are interested in going out this weekend and meeting up let me know.

Your picture of the Laguna mtns took me back a few years when I used to run a lot in ultra distance races, one was the San Diego 100 and went from Lake Morena to the store in Banner and back following the PCT. I always remember getting to the lookout over ABDSP and watching the glider planes soaring quietly over that valley. It is such an awesome view..here is a pic looking back at 'ya



Daren

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surfponto
surfponto
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11/8/2010
surfponto
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Hey David,
I would like to get more detail on the chicken taco meal.
I am all about simplicity when it comes to eating out there and if it wasn't for my wife, I would probably go out there with a bag of tortilla chips and some salsa. smile
Bob

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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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11/8/2010
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
Posts: 423
Daren,
I know that view well. We were up there the weekend before last and planned on hiking a section of the PCT to Garnet Peak and back but it was raining and the wind was blowing probably 50 MPH across there so we stayed in the trees and hiked part of the Big Laguna Trail instead and got nice and wet. But it was lots of fun and my dog didn't care that it was raining or windy. Not sure of my plans for this weekend yet but I would love to do a hike with you sometime. It seems you have been some places I have missed in my years of exploring ABDSP.
David
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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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11/8/2010
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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Bob,
The chicken package says... "Premium Bumble Bee - Prime Fillet - Chicken Breast - Skinless & Boneless - with Southwest Seasonings." It comes in a 4 oz. packet and says "Already Cooked - Just Heat and Serve" on the top of the foil packet. It does not need to be kept cold. Since I rarely take a stove when backpacking in the desert, I just skip the heating part and shred it into a tortilla. Like I said above I found it next to the canned tuna at Vons. There are also some salmon and other items in that same area of the store that you could use. As far as keeping the lettuce and cheese cool... If it is winter and cold I just bury it in the middle of my pack. But on this trip I put those two things in something like this http://www.outdoorresearch.com/site/water_bottle_parka.html with a frozen bottle of Gatorade inside to keep it cool. The water botttle parka is mostly used for backcountry ski trips to keep water from freezing but it works on desert backpacking trips as a mini cooler. All the other stuff is up to you. This time I used some Jack in the Box hot sauce packets and individual snack packets of pepper jack cheese. Hope this helps. When backpacking in the desert water adds so much weight to my pack, I really try to keep the meals easy and simple. And these tacos are easy, simple, and delicious! Of course if car camping it is much easier to keep things cool and fresh.
David
<em>edited by hikerdmb on 11/8/2010</em>
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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11/9/2010
dsefcik
dsefcik
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David, where do you get your weather info for Whale Peak from? Are you just going by similar altitude stations nearby like Ranchita or Laguna?

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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11/9/2010
dsefcik
dsefcik
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That section of the PCT from Pioneer mail up to and past Lucky 5 is right on th edge of the desert valley and can be extremely windy. Once you drop down into Oriflame and Chariot canyons it calms down but can be really hot during the summer. There are a lot of old mine workings down in that canyon going towards Banner as well.

hikerdmb wrote:
Daren,
I know that view well. We were up there the weekend before last and planned on hiking a section of the PCT to Garnet Peak and back but it was raining and the wind was blowing probably 50 MPH across there so we stayed in the trees and hiked part of the Big Laguna Trail instead and got nice and wet. But it was lots of fun and my dog didn't care that it was raining or windy. Not sure of my plans for this weekend yet but I would love to do a hike with you sometime. It seems you have been some places I have missed in my years of exploring ABDSP.
David


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http://www.darensefcik.com
http://www.carrizogorge.com
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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
Posts: 423


11/9/2010
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
Posts: 423
Daren,
Try this NWS link http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=33.02363335727839&lon=-116.28341674804687&site=sgx&smap=1&marine=0&unit=0&lg=en

It has a map you can zoom in and out and click anywhere and it gives a 7 day forecast as well as telling you the average elevation for that particular place. I use this site because it will give a zone forecast for anywhere, not just cities.

I also use this one from Borrego Springs http://www.bageltron.com/~laura/wx/
and this too http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=92004.
The last one has an hourly forecast and a good history page for rainfall totals and such.

Here are a couple more that you might like
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/mwmap.php?map=sgx&limit=1&list=1
http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/precipMaps.php?group=sd&hour=1&synoptic=0

Hope this helps,
David
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surfponto
surfponto
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11/9/2010
surfponto
surfponto
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Daren,
4 weekends in a row! Crazy. I think that has to be some sort of record.
Let us know how your trip goes. Sounds like another great adventure.
Bob

David,
Thanks for the taco tip as well as the great weather links.
Trying to convince my son to take a day trip out this weekend, but if he is not surfing he is thinking XBox. upset
Hopefully he will come around at some point.
Bob

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http://www.anzaborrego.net/



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