Dan (NA6MG) and I headed up to Kennedy Meadows, meeting up at Grumpy Bear’s Restaurant and Tavern at around 0700. First hike was Peak 7540. This is in the Sacatar Trail Wilderness, administered by the BLM. The Wilderness is accessed from Sacatar Trail, according to the BLM website. The Sacatar Trail was originally a wagon road in the old days. We took Sacatar Ranch Road east, left (north) on (I think) Old Corral Road, then right (east) on Sacatar Trail. At 35.989615 -118.0627 (6640 ft) you can park and walk up the dirt road that leads to the north, or drive up it. We drove, but stopped and parked after a quarter mile or so, then we walked up to the saddle (7000 ft) from there.
The road is easy, we both had 4WD or AWD. No clearance issues.
From the saddle we headed west and a bit south up steep slopes
Then up a ridge right and north to the summit, the elevation gain is not much, a few hundred feet up the road then 500 feet (160m) from the saddle. Took and hour or less from the saddle.
Set up the radio
We both made a few QSOs
View of Domelands Wilderness
We made the descent straight down to the saddle, first rocky then sandy
Then we turned around and headed back to town, taking Goman Road (just north of Grumpy Bear’s) a half mile or so to its west end at the town landfill. We took some dirt roads north and west and south to see if we could get closer, but they got rather poor and finally the road was gated, so we went back to the land fill.
Here is where we started, just right of the landfill gate (out of view to the left)
We kept the wire fence of the landfill to our left, the fence ended after a quarter mile (it enclosed the landfill to our left), then continued through sagebrush towards the peak.
We came upon an old overgrown and unmaintained dirt road, whose switchbacks we followed for awhile, but we took one switchback too many so backtracked and headed up the side north side of a gully through pine and brush to a saddle on the summit ridge. Then up through unpleasant rocky scrub to a north summit, which to our chagrin was shorter than a nearby south summit. Took about 5 or 10 minutes to get to the higher summit.
Looking back at the lower summit
The top is a few feet behind me. In the summit register, the previous ascent was by Mike KX6A more than two years ago! This summit does not get many ascents.
The RBN spots were not working for this SOTA activation, maybe it had disabled our alert after it at heard us for our earlier activation of Pk 7540…I made one QSO with a QRP station WA5ODV, Phil, in Oklahoma. Dan was eventually heard by a SOTA station and was spotted by him. I was happy to get the one QSO for a new unique summit for me! So the activation was a success.
Looking towards the Sacatar Trail Wilderness. On the left I think I can see our Peak 7540, much smaller than the other 9000 foot peaks of the Wilderness.
To descend, we headed straight down steeply on rocky ground, then in a wash, till we came to the meadow.
Looking back up. Looks easy but we found both the ascent and descent tiring and not very enjoyable.
On the east edge of the meadow we came to a hiking and horse riding trail we had seen from above. This took us north back to the landfill. And I still cannot figure out from this photo which of those points on the ridge is the high point!
Then to Grumpy Bear’s
For some well deserved beer and burgers!
We set up camp at in the Kennedy Meadows campground after stopping at the general store to get some beer. The temperature fell to 28F (-2C) during the night. I stayed warm enough in my sleeping bags in the Subaru, but it was too cold to want to get out the telescope. So I just stargazed by eye a few times, the Milky Way was a good sight in this dark sky. At 4AM the constellations Orion, Canis Major, Auriga and Perseus were spectacularly bright. In the southern sky I could still see some glow from the far away lights of Los Angeles.