Kingston Peak, Avawatz Mountains
By: Linda McDermott
Our group met at the flat camping spot near where the road reaches its high point at a saddle at 1550 meters. From there we piled into 4WD vehicles and drove the extra .7 miles closer to Kingston, following the dirt road SE from the parking area.
We hiked across the desert floor, caught the wash and eventually worked our way up to do the endless ridge running. Of note, there were a great deal of quartz crystals on the mountain, and (I was told) amethyst can be found also.
We all made the peak with no problem, coming down in time to get nearer Avawatz. We intended to camp at the mud flats behind Shoshone, and were surprised by "No Camping" signs there, indicating it was now private property. Because it was after dark, and we did not intend to have a campfire, we stayed overnight.
We left early again, around 6:00 am, for Avawatz. Phil Reher, leader of the group, pulled over at the road junction in Shoshone to be sure all vehicles were together when a search and rescue vehicle pulled up to Phil. We were asked to possibly assist the search team who were looking for an older gentleman who had been missing from a hike the previous day. After some time, part of our group left to do the peak while others still waited to see if they were needed.
The first group drove up Route A (4WD road). I had not done the peak before, and really think this road is a treat. I especially appreciated all the elevation we gained so easily. I was carpooling with Tom Sumner, who was particularly fascinated by the drop-offs on the way BACK from the peak. We were able to get to the relay station area where we parked then easily caught one of the ridges and followed the main ridge, using a use trail most of the way.
Just when we started back down, the second group caught up to us. Apparently the lost man had been found and our second group quickly got to the roadhead to climb the peak. Everyone got safely up and down the peak, thanks to the great leadership of Phil Reher and Rich Gnagy.
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