Participants: Tom Mahood
General search area: Lower Covington Flat trailhead to southwest area between Smith Water Canyon and Quail Mountain
Rationale for searching this area:
This was a continuation of our earlier searches in the area between Quail Mountain and Smith Water Canyon. This search focused on filling in gaps more towards Quail Mountain and having a close look at a possible route Bill could have used to reach the top of the Quail Mountain ridge without pinging a cell tower.
Impressions of area and findings:
Once on top of the area, terrain was easy and rolling. The first image below is once I completed my climb and was looking northeast toward Quail Mountain. I was headed toward the saddle just on my side of it. The second image is after reaching the saddle and looking generally toward the northeast. The terrain prevented me from seeing the route to Smith Water Canyon, so it didn’t seem like an obvious attraction. Looking down toward Juniper Flats, the ascent looked pretty simple, and was not too far from where the red bandanna was found. So the ascent route looked reasonable, but the impression when crossing the saddle was not of one being drawn toward Smith Water Canyon, but rather a downhill run down the canyon in front. It looked very easy. However in fact that canyon gets very rocky and brush filled further below. And all of it has been checked by the initial searchers.
I think the area between Quail Mountain and Smith Water Canyon has been covered to a reasonable level. There are still some areas left unchecked, but the effort to hit them all would be significant.
While initially seeming promising, the area between Quail Mountain and Smith Water Canyon hasn’t panned out. It may be time to look at other improbable locations before heading back in here.
GPS mileage submitted for this trip: 12.2 miles
Cumulative GPS mileage submitted to date: 500.3 miles
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