Black Butte, Chuckwalla Mountains


By: Linda McDermott


If you ever want to laugh your way up a peak, travel with Henry Arnebold and Scott Jamison. Hot as it was, I laughed so much up the peak that I forgot the PAIN.

I only “needed” Chuckwalla, and Henry and Scott were kind enough to lead both Black Butte and Chuckwalla last March. Shane Smith, in his quest to finish the list, joined Henry and Scott for Black Butte. I had done Black Butte with Ellen and Ron Grau earlier, and didn’t want to encounter the three rattlesnakes Ellen found again.

Jim Hinkley, Dave Boyle (all the way from Maine!) and I joined the group for a great campfire on Saturday night. We met at the turnoff for Chuckwalla, with perfect timing. On Sunday, the climb up Chuckwalla was uneventful except for the heat. I was glad to see both Scott and Henry sweat also! We encountered no rattlesnakes, fortunately. The drive and climb are as outlined in the guidebook. As we headed home on Sunday, we stopped to see a desert tortoise crossing the road. Keeping our distance so the tortoise was not scared was a priority. Apparently when scared, the old tortoises “pee” and lose what precious water they have stored. So. . . .if you ever come across a tortoise, be sure to keep your distance to help save its life.

Thanks to Henry and Scott for a great trip, and to Shane, Jim and Dave for their company!

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