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Rockhouse Canyon / Toro Peak BackPack Trip Messages in this topic - RSS

dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/8/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Gary invited Randy and I out to explore some more of Rockhouse Canyon over a 4-1/2 day trip. No real agenda, just explore and enjoy the desert...plans were extremely flexible. We hiked out at night after work in the dark and camped out the first night on some low benches at the mouth of Rockhouse Canyon. The next day we explored some side canyons and ridges of the Santa Rosa Ridgeline.

There are some great views of Rockhouse Canyon from above, here is a view of Buck Ridge and the valley from a ridge near the "necklace" vein.



On the way up the ridge Gary saw this large lizard, I am pretty sure it is a Baja California Collard Lizard


We made our way over to Box Spring and had some lunch under the shade of the trees near the spring. The spring was not currently a good source of water since previous repair work had deteriorated and only thin surface water was available. Using some materials left from prior repairs I made an effort to get the spring back to usable order. Gary and Randy helped out by supplying the rocks. If anybody goes out there after reading this please let me know how it is doing. Hopefully the animals will not kick it all over.

Here is the spring before I made repairs


Here is the spring after repairs


There was quite a bit of insect wildlife down around the water, I especially liked all the Damselflies. Here is a Male Bluet Damselfly


This one was sharing a branch with some type of beetle


Here a male and female are mating


We spent the second night at the Old Santa Rosa Village ruins. The lowest rock house at the village had a gate keeper there waiting for us


We stayed in the upper rock houses and enjoyed some great views of the valley and a colorful sunset


As might as I tried I could not get my new Canon Powershot S100 to take good long exposure pictures, even with the CHDK scripts. This is a night shot of Rockhouse Canyon with Clark Dry Lake and probably Ocotillo Wells in the far distance


Most of the wildflower blooms in the lower elevations were done but as we continued to climb higher towards the Cottonwoods we started seeing lots of new blooms. At around the 4,000' level many of the wildflowers were still blooming like this Purple Prickly Pear Cactus


Something I noticed on many of the agave stalks and am still researching is what looked like hundreds of pupae type skins that had been shed in small holes in the stalks. Anybody know more about this?


Exploring up another unnamed drainage near the base of Toro Peak we found some old historic debris and had a great view of Buck Ridge



After a long day we finally reached the Cottonwoods and upper rock house ruins where we spent the third night. It was getting windy and cloudy and rain was in the forecast. We didn't get any rain that night but the morning clouds made for a brilliant sunrise


On the third day we climbed up to Toro Peak from the Cottonwoods. It was a long climb and the weather was getting cold and windy. From the Cottonwoods we climbed straight up the ridgeline to the Alta Seca Bench area. This is quite a change from the desert terrain below, it is much more of a forest at the 8,000' elevations


Lots of these Snow Plants were popping up out of the ground


After almost 4 hours of climbing we got to the top of Toro Peak. It was very cloudy, super windy and we were getting some light snow falling on us. We checked out the towers and surrounding views of Rockhouse Canyon, Pinyon Flat and the Cochella Valley. Not the clearest day but great views anyway.


Looking down into Rockhouse Canyon from Toro Peak


On the way back down to the Cottonwoods we saw a nice Gopher snake, maybe 4' or so


Knowing it was going to start raining we decided to hike down to the lower elevations of Rockhouse Canyon so after getting back down from Toro Peak we put our packs on and hiked down towards the lower ruins and camped out for our fourth night. We got some light drizzle overnight and the next morning but nothing too bad. We were treated to a nice double rainbow in the wash we camped out in


Here is a morning shot of Dawns Peak covered by a cloud bank and peak 6300 to the left


On the last day out we decided to go explore the upper ridge areas above the Corps BM. There are some spectacular open valleys up there. You could easily spend days just exploring there. Here is just one view of those upper ridges looking towards Clark Dry Lake


Gary knew where some old pot sherds were


Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 6



http://www.sefcik.com/2013/05/rockhouse-canyon-toro-peak-backpack.html

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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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5/8/2013
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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Awesome trip Daren!
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surfponto
surfponto
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5/9/2013
surfponto
surfponto
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That lizard is really cool. I have never seen one of those.

Looks like your S100 is working pretty good.
Sure you are loving the weight savings smile

Bob

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ziphius
ziphius
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5/9/2013
ziphius
ziphius
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Looks like an epic trip Daren! I know how hard it is to get those damselfly photos.... nice one!

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anutami
anutami
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5/10/2013
anutami
anutami
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I love your epic treks and stellar pics! Your collection of backcountry pics of ABDSP is unmatched by no other. I hope one day you publish a book of all the wild, desolate and remote places.
Nice work on box spring, looks like it has been awhile since someone has been there. I saw the head of a huge lizard up cougar canyon, guessing it was the same. Love the gopher snake photo amongst the cholla and then the double rainbow....wow, yet another amazing trip, where are you headed next?
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/11/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Randy got a picture of Gary and I looking down into Rockhouse, it was cold and windy up there at 8,000+', we got some light snow while we were there.



I need to get back to the south end of the park, I have been neglecting it and it is calling me for some summer adventures......

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rockhopper
rockhopper
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5/13/2013
rockhopper
rockhopper
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Great trip. Climbing El Torro from the south side! I've always thought that would be a great trip.
Tons of areas to explore and seldom visited but has history. Again gret trip and super photos.
Thanks for sharing~!
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tommy750
tommy750
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5/13/2013
tommy750
tommy750
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Another amazing trip, Daren. Have only been on top of Toro once and it was the easy way. What was your gain/loss? Certainly an impressive climb. Tom
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/13/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Another amazing trip, Daren. Have only been on top of Toro once and it was the easy way. What was your gain/loss? Certainly an impressive climb. Tom
I didn't really think about it too much and I didn't take a GPS with me that trip but it was a lot of uphill...!! Just looking at the topo, Toro Peak is at 8716 and the Cottonwoods are at 5000 so a minimum of 3716/3716 but I would pad it at 4000. The trek is about 3 miles each way so easily 1000' per mile.

Tracing a route on CalTopo shows 4042' @ 2.8 miles.

The trek up took just under 4 hours, we got down much quicker. Left at 8am and got back at 2:30pm. The hardest part was going to get water at the spring afterwards and putting our packs on to hike several more hours to get down to the lower ruins and stay out of the rain. Good trip and Gary and Randy are about as tough as they get. We did a lot of exploring and 4.5 days out there is really just a nice break. We saw a lot of Tanager birds, they are just gorgeous.

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/13/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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I forgot to note that in this photo you can see Dawns, Rabbit & Villager Peaks on the left ridge. Buck Ridge looks awfully small this high up. You should be able to click the image to see a larger, higher resolution version.

dsefcik wrote:

Looking down into Rockhouse Canyon from Toro Peak



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DesertWRX
DesertWRX
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8/1/2013
DesertWRX
DesertWRX
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Great view looking down upon the hiking area... http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/L/tp-s-mobo-c.jpg
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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8/1/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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DesertWRX wrote:
Great view looking down upon the hiking area... http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/L/tp-s-mobo-c.jpg
Yep, that's it...great view..thanks!

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davidwyby
davidwyby
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5/12/2016
davidwyby
davidwyby
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Daren, are you currently accepting applications for hiking partners? :-) Sure do like all your pics and reports. I live down in the desert and escape to the Santa Rosas often in the summer. Been thinking about trying RH to TP, which is what led me to this thread.
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sddarkman619
sddarkman619
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5/31/2016
sddarkman619
sddarkman619
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Nice TR!
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