Clark Mountains, New York Mountains
By: Greg Roach
A group of 13 desert rats and two desert dogs met at the railroad tracks in Ivanpah Saturday morning. The railroad tracks was a good place to meet but no place to sleep near. It was reported very reliably by all those present that 6 very LONG trains went by during the night.
From Ivanpah we drove into Keystone Canyon. The canyon is full of juniper and higher up pinyon pine. There is a good camp site before you come to where the canyon narrows and a road comes in from the open pit mines on the ridge to the south. As you progress up canyon take the right fork. The left fork is a dead end. After the fork the road gets increasingly worse. We almost made it to the mine but stopped about 500 feet short to preserve our vehicles. From the mine we hiked up to the ridge between Keystone and Cruthers Canyon. From here you can see the peak. The summit is a big pile of rocks on the ridge. We crossed into Cruthers Canyon and made a bee line for the peak. Everyone had fun climbing including the two dogs (Rusky and Chessie). Chessie stayed below the big pile of rocks and Rusky made it to the top with some help from her mistress Julie Rush. The view from the peak is great. We could see the Providence mountain to the south and Mt. Charleston to the north covered with snow.
We descended the mountain by way of the ridge to the north so we could see the grove of fir trees growing on New York Mountain. This is one of four places in the desert where fir trees exist. One member of our group, William Jones is working on his Thesis pertaining to Gee-Biology. He lead us to the fir trees growing high on a shady canyon on the north side of the mountain. Apparently there were more fir trees in the area when the climate was colder after the last ice age. As the climate has warmed up the fir trees have disappeared at lower elevations leaving a true non desert island plant community. We learned a lot about trees from William Jones. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, William.
After we got back to the cars it was still early afternoon, so we decided to drive over to the campground and picnic area in the Clark Mts. On our way over to Clark Mts. Pete and Rex spotted a desert tortoise in the middle of the road. Everyone stopped to look at it and take pictures. Then we carried it to a safe place off the road. When we got to the picnic area we had the place all to ourselves. This is a great place to camp. That night we enjoyed good food and camaraderie around the campfire. Some of the highlights were Mirna's vegetarian tacos and Bill Steven's Julian Apple Pie and John's good stories.
Sunday we started hiking around 8am. The route to Clark goes well from the picnic area where we camped. Once again our guide dogs Rusky and Chessie came along. Rusky made it up the high class 2 ridge before the summit. He is really an animal! We made the peak before noon. The grove of fir trees on Clark Mtn is much larger than on New York Mtn. We got a good view of them from the ridge. We got back to the cars by 1pm. So we could get an early start driving back home. Everyone had a good time. These are two short fun peaks in a beautiful area.
Participants: William Jones, Julie Rush, Shang Lee, Rex Smith, Pete Yamagata, Randy Ragland, Karen Leonard, John McCully, Bill Stevens, Douglas Jones, Jim Schoedler, Mirna Roach and Greg Roach. Guide Dogs: Rusky and Chessie.
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