Participants: Tom Mahood
General search area: Juniper Flats trailhead easterly to cell area southerly of Ryan Mountain
Rationale for searching this area:
The cell phone splash maps had indicated a small zone of Serin Drive tower cell coverage on a peak just southerly of Ryan Mountain. The Juniper Flats trailhead is on the California Riding and Hiking Trail, which passes just southerly of this peak. It was conceivable Bill could have parked where he did and gone in the other direction on the CRH Trail (easterly), away from Quail Mountain, perhaps looking for an imaginative way to scale Ryan Mountain. In any case, review of our image of the initial search map showed this area had never been searched previously.
Impressions of area and findings:
Open area, but fairly steep slopes. Getting from this area to Ryan Mountain would be challenging due to a substantial saddle between. There was an odd arrangement of stones on top, suggesting a pentagram, but not exactly. A Joshua Tree chapter of devil worshipers? You find strange things in the desert. Like more damn snakes.
Adequate. There are only a few reasonable route to ascent this peak and I checked them all. The top of the mountain is open and I checked all possible hiding places.
This was my first outing after I had messed up my left leg, and wanted to go solo so I could bail out at any time. I had originally planned on returning the way I had ascended. But once at the top, I could see my parked truck in the distance and it appeared like a beeline right toward it, down the steep face of the slope below me, was the quickest route back. Of course I know that appearances aren’t always what they seem, but it also occurred to me that had Bill been standing where I was, he could well have been tempted down the slope, getting into trouble. With that in mind, and cranking up my caution since I wasn’t back at 100%, I went down the slope. It wasn’t too bad and I cleared the obvious route. About half way down I managed to come across another friggin’ rattlesnake. That was two of these buggers in two trips. It was forcing me to pay attention to where I put my feet! Speaking of which, my leg seemed to do OK, so it was back to planning the more crazy hikes.
GPS mileage submitted for this trip: 5.6 miles
Cumulative GPS mileage submitted to date: 355.4 miles
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