In the Mojave Desert: Saddleback Butte (W6 ND-308) 3651 ft, 9 September 2016

Not too far, up in the Mojave desert near Palmdale, there are five buttes that are SOTA peaks: Saddleback Butte, Piute Butte, Lovejoy Buttes, Black Butte and Alpine Butte. They are all 2 pointers. A 20 mile drive further east is Shadow Mountains high point, worth 4 points. They all get a three point summer bonus.

Many movies and TV shows have been filmed in this area; “Bonanza” was shot around Lovejoy Buttes.

I planned on hiking Saddleback and Piute. Both are in state parks. Saddleback provides picnicking and camping facilities, and Piute is the site of the Antelope Valley Indian Musueum. The latter is open 11AM to 4PM on weekends.

Reached Saddleback at 6AM, I entered at Avenue J, but a quicker access road for the trail and camping area is off 170th St East. There are good facilities there: running water and flush toilets. I paid the 6 dollar day use fee and began the hike.

Started the hike at dawn. Joshua trees in this area

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Looking south west to Piute Butte

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1000 feet elevation gain and 2 miles to the summit in 55 minutes. The summit is rocky. Set up the EFHW, view just west of north. I was the only person there; if there are people about it would be better to set up the antenna in the flat area down there

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The temperature was fairly cool, started of about 60F (15C) and then warmer. Worked 2m, 40m, 20m then finally 30m

2m FM: WA6VVC

40m CW: W7RV K6HPX NO6E N6PKT

20m CW: KD3CA N4EX KG3W W0MNA W0ERI N4MJ WI5H

30m CW: NS7P KA5PVB N9KW K8TE NU7A

Headed down, now starting to get hot. Hiking these kinds of buttes is a new kind of experience for me!

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Back at the Jeep it was 80F (27C). Drank another pint (half litre) and refilled water bottles.

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Drove over to Piute Butte and parked just south of the movie set “motel and service station”. Hiked for 10 minutes, it was just too hot in the blazing sun so turned back! The state park seems to be surrounded by barbed wire to keep out off road vehicles, so at some point one might have to cross it. Maybe it would be good to do this peak from the museum entrance when it is open.

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The movie set. Among others, Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects” was shot here!

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Drove over to Alpine Butte, off of Avenue O. The sign for the dirt road says 130th St East. Drove up the dirt road, this looks like a good place to park, you could go further if you want. From here, the top is only about 350 feet (100m)  elevation again and half a  mile (800m). Just too hot for me right now!

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I then drove back home, and stopped in at Blum Ranch in Acton to buy peaches, pears, and corn.

73! Hal N6JZT

 

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