These buttes are fun to hike. I would have hiked them before but they are a 90 mile drive from my house, rather far. Would be nice if they were closer. Temperature was forecast for a high of 95F, so wanted to start early. Set off from the house at 0245! Took about two hours to drive there the “slow” way on the Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway, and then on Mt Emma Road, 90th/87th Streets and Avenue O.
For Lovejoy, from Avenue O turned south on 145th Street East and after about a mile parked on the west side at 34.60203 -117.87145. The shoulder was packed sand. When I left later the wheels on my 2WD Jeep spun a little but it was not a problem. I carry a shovel and traction mats for recovery.
Started at 0520 after enjoying some coffee. Headed due east on sandy Jeep roads towards the obvious low point on the ridge. In fact, if you have a really good 4WD and are OK with sand, you can drive most of the way up this butte if you have the urge!
At the saddle turn right, and almost immediately see the (in)famous boat! The route leads along the road ahead and then an obvious use trail up and along the ridge to the left.
This is the ridge, the road is to the right out of the picture.
The sun is rising at about 0550
Hiking the ridge is easy, is not fierce like it looks when you first see it!
Set up the radio at the top
Started on 20m at around 0630 local time. the band was pretty quiet at this early hour. There was good cell service here, so texted my wife and got spots out to the SOTA page.
20M CW:N1GB WA7SB K4MF KM5HG K5QR
30m CW: K3IE K5OT K8TE NA6MG
40m CW: N6PKT AA7DK W7RV W7USA K6TUY
View NW. Alpine Butte is to the right (not center), my next peak. The buttes around here are SOTA 2 pointers, but have a 3 point summer bonus to take advantage of.
View north as I started down. Piute Butte is right of center, Saddleback Butte farther away and almost at the edge on the right
Heading down past Joshua Trees, my car is just below and left of center. Not in the sandy wash that looks like a road but is not!
Many movies have been filmed around Lovejoy: westerns such as “Bonanza”, science fiction such as the giant ant movie “Them!”, and horror movies such as Rob Zombie’s directorial “masterpiece” debut “Room of 1000 Corpses”!
Then about a 10 minute drive over to Alpine Butte, back north and left on Avenue O, right on 130th. The road gets sandier so kept my momentum up. In one place the center of the road is deep sand and was blocked by tires so you go around. Up the hill and parked at the comm site. It is hard to judge the distance, but the peak is about a 15 minute climb, first left up and to a ridge, then right along the ridge to the top
Looking back towards Lovejoy
Looking down to the comm site
The bands were more active at this hour. Only worked 20m and 40m, not 30m because it was getting hot. Again, there was good cell service up here.
20m CW: NG6R WA7SB W9MRH W0MNA W0ERI NU7A KC7FCW NS7P K8LJG AB9CA WC9G WA7WJR
40m CW: W7RV K8TE W7USA N6PKT K7ORG
A good morning out in the desert!
73! Hal N6JZT