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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The killer climb

Here's the hummingbird garden as it looked at daylight before I headed up the mountain.

It was already 72° so I didn't have the advantage of a cool first couple of hours. It took me 4 hrs to do the climb. 90° when I got back down. Tomorrow I plan to take it much easier, maybe just work an hour or so.

I made it up to the saddle by sheer willpower, or hard-headedness. Good that I did because I would have gone the wrong way up. I tried to go over the ridge a ways above the landing, but although I climbed up that way today, no trail up would be possible.

After you get over the ridge you're forced to climb down a steep slope and then up toward the saddle again. Exhausting and needing hands and feet to do. Following the ridge on that side isn't doable. Too many sheer cliff faces. To keep the climb uphill all the way, and not up and down, requires going up on the south side of the ridge and crossing it near the top, past the big arroyo. Henceforth, the landing will be called the "lower landing." I have to go past it to a higher "upper landing," then angle across the ridge. Pictures are so deceiving. On the next photo you can barely see the huge deep chasm between where I'm standing and the ridge. One cliff wall is barely peeking out (below and between #1 and #2).

#1 The low part of the ridge that I originally anticipated crossing.
#2  The place on the ridge I later figured I'd angle across from the "lower landing." But to do that I'd have to make a trail on a steeper slope than I would on the south side of the ridge.
#3  By cutting steps into the south slope and crossing here I won't have to go downhill but can rework an Aoudad trail from this point to the saddle. So that's the plan. Tomorrow I hope to make it to the lower landing with the trail. I've learned that even crude work with the hoe makes a lot of difference in being able to navigate the terrain, so I'm thinking about just roughing it in and refining it later.

I forgot binoculars today so didn't look for Lucifer nests. Here is a photo I took of a Mexican Blue Oak tree growing inside a crevasse near the saddle. I didn't have the stamina to climb closer for a closer photo, but if I ever make it up there again, I will.

This afternoon I saw my first frog being eaten by a turtle. Some kind of Leopard Frog, but I don't know the kind of turtle.

UPDATE: Here's the kind of Leopard Frog it was. Thanks, Scott, for the turtle ID: Mud Turtle.  Perhaps Yellow Mud Turtle. I've been told I had them here. I just don't know turtles.


  1. That is a Mud Turtle, not sure about the frog. Nice pics

  2. Thanks, Scott. I read there are 14 species of Leopard Frog, so I don't know which this is. I'll add a photo of one of mine. Maybe you can tell from that.

  3. "by sheer willpower, or hard-headedness" Some of both, I am sure. : )