Leaders: John Cheslick, Bob Henderson
On Saturday morning at 8:00AM, the group met at Jawbone Canyon Road north of Mojave to do Chuckwalla and Cross as a traverse. After waiting a couple of minutes for latecomers, the group, totaling twelve, drove over to the Cross trailhead to leave half the cars. The group then drove over to the Chuckwalla trailhead to begin our adventure.
Chuckwalla was a very pleasant and easy hike. It only took us an hour and 15 minutes to get to the top. From the summit the group surveyed our route to Cross. At this time some of the group asked why we were doing a traverse. I blamed the whole idea on Roy Stewart, saying he suggested it to me on a prior trip. Roy quickly denied that it was his idea. Anyway, at this time it was too late.
The traverse to Cross was very pleasant. It's a great cross-country treat. The only problem we had, was deciding which route to take up which ridge. Finally, after conferring with Bob, we went up a nice animal trail (possibly sheep?) to the summit. The view was magnificent. We could see the southern end of the Sierra and the northern side of the San Gabriels. The traverse between the two peaks took us three hours.
After a leisurely lunch, we were about to descend down the infamous scree slope of Cross. This scree slope is pure hell to ascend according to the write-up, but descending it was a great treat all of us enjoyed. It took the fast people only about 15 minutes to descend one thousand feet. The group now realized why we did this traverse. In fact, I would recommend this traverse over doing these peaks separately. It is a better wilderness experience.
Saturday night we camped at Walker Pass and planned to do Scodie from the campground the next day. However, after surveying the approach to Scodie from the campground, I decided to give the peak a try from the alternative route. (The reason for the change was the primary route is on north facing slopes which had a fair dusting of snow.) So the group headed on to the trailhead at Cow Heaven Canyon.
We were not sure whether the snow would be easier after hearing the name of the trailhead. The group was still a party of twelve. Magdaline Quinlan left Saturday with a sore knee and Roy Stewart needed to get back to LA. However, we were joined to Tom Neely and Cecelia Waltman. Cecelia was staying at the campground and decided to join us with her friendly dog.
Scodie was a snap. We had to walk through some snow near the top but nothing too deep. The peak also had a great view since a strong wind was blowing that day. It cleared out all the haze. We viewed the snow covered Sierra to the north and Cross and Chuckwalla to the south. Cecelia's dog even made it to the top of Scodie, scrambling up rocks with some help.