Leaders: David Jensen, David Eisenberg
It was a clear and pleasant November morning when a group of ten hikers met at the Jawbone Canyon Road north of Mojave on Hwy 14. Our goal for the weekend was the aforementioned peaks and perhaps a bonus peak.
We soon left the meeting point for Butterbredt, our first peak of the day. The road was in good shape and after a short but safe and sane drive, we all arrived at the trailhead. After our initial preparations, we headed up the slope to meet the trail that goes along the eastern side of the ridge. In less than an hour, we had all arrived and could enjoy the view. After relaxing for a few short minutes and signing in, we returned to our vehicles for the drive to Mayan.
Mayan looks like a pyramid, so it could just as easily have been called Egyptian. It was a rather different climb, as it is only about a mile but the gain is some 1800'. It was steep, made more challenging by the sandy surface. We tried to stay in rocky areas going up, as it made the climbing easier. We all eventually made it and really enjoyed a lunch break out of the wind on the summit. Relaxed and refreshed, we hit the slope for an exhilarating and speedy trip back to the trailhead. Then we were off on the drive to Onyx Peak.
The BLM sign "CLOSED TO ALL VEHICLE USE" was no longer at the gate, so we drove further up Short Canyon and parked near the base of the peak. In so doing, we saved ourselves perhaps a mile but also cut off some 500' of gain. We went north right up the slope, through a rocky escarpment and then up to the ridge east of the summit. We then followed the ridge over to the peak. This route is better than the one shown in the peak guide as the primary. After a quick signing, we left as it was getting cooler and windy and we all wanted to be back at the cars before dark. We took a slightly different way back to avoid the rocks and to use the sandy scree for a faster descent. In less than 30 minutes, we were all down and ready to head off to our campsite for the night at Walker Pass Campground.
On the way to the campground, we stopped at the Walker Pass Lodge for supper, but they were already booked for the night with a private party, so we were left out in the cold. Carol Smetana and Frank Atkin then left us to return to the amenities of civilization as we continued our quest for a hot meal which we found at the Homestead Cafe. After a leisurely repast, we all went back to the campground for a good night's sleep.
By the next morning, the clouds had started to gather off to the west, so we decided that Scodie, our bonus peak, was not the best idea. Instead, we left to climb Skinner Peak from the east side via Horse Canyon. We had an interesting drive on SC65 and finally reached the saddle described in route 2 in the peak guide. The wind had really picked up and we had a chilly hike along the PCT towards the summit. We could see the darkening sky north of us, just where we had been earlier. After some two miles on the trail, we went cross-country for the last leg to the top. Another abbreviated stay signing in and we headed back. We did have a little rain on the way, but were back and driving out before it got very heavy. As we approached Hwy. 14, we could look back and see some very dark clouds and a huge double rainbow over Skinner Peak. What a beautiful way to end a hike.
Other participants were Evan Samuels, Tom Sakowych, Kathy Cecere, Woody Brown, Helvia Miller, and George Schroedter. Thanks again to the other David for his invaluable assistance as CoLeader.