Monday, February 18, 2013

Hike 2013.010 -- Teutonia Peak, Mojave National Preserve

(Picture 1: Teutonia Peak). Hiked Monday, February 18. Well, I've fallen so far behind in my hike write-ups, I guess I'll start working backwards. This is the hike I did today. I'd done it once before, about two and a half years ago.

Today, I was driving back from Las Vegas. My original plan was to hit both Teutonia Peak and Kelso Dunes. But my camera battery died on Teutonia Peak, so I just called it a day after this hike.

(Picture 2: Cima Dome from near I-15). Teutonia Peak lies atop Cima Dome, less than a mile from the center of that dome. Cima Dome is a huge shield of a dome, ten miles in diameter. It's so large that you can most easily view the dome from a distance. Picture 2 shows the view from just south of I-15. Teutonia Peak is atop this dome, less than a mile from the center. In contrast to the dome, peak sort of blends right in. It doesn't become obvious until you are much closer to the trail.

From I-15, head 12 miles south on Cima Road. A sign announcing your approach to the parking area for Teutonia Peak and a White Cross World War I Memorial appears just 1/4 mile before your destination. Because the White Cross gets top billing, you may not have time to read the whole sign, so I'm telling you now: When you see the White Cross sign, that's your indication to get ready to stop. If you're coming from the north, your parking area will be on your right.

(Picture 3: The White Cross). The White Cross memorial is accessed via a trailhead on the east side of Cima Road, opposite the Teutonia Peak trailhead. I didn't know for sure what this was, so I crossed Cima Road and walked a few steps up the granite slab there, then looked to the south. Less than 1/8 of a mile away was the White Cross, which I then concluded must have been the cross that was the subject of recent litigation. I snapped a picture of the cross in the distance (Picture 3). Then I turned around and snapped a picture of Teutonia Peak, standing above the thick Joshua Tree forest (Picture 1). Then crossed back over Cima Road to start my hike.

(Picture 4: Cholla cactus). Your trail begins mostly flat, making about 3/4 of a mile slowly climbing the dome, towards Teutonia Peak. This is the Joshua Tree forest, with a very few juniper mixed in. When you finally reach the outcropping that is Teutonia Peak, the climb gets steeper.

You make your way to a saddle in the long, narrow "mountain," then continue somewhat up the ridge line before dropping "behind" Teutonia Peak. From the west side, you can see Cima Dome again, closer, but still very shallow as it makes its way to an apex.

(Picture 5: Cholla Cactus and the summit of Teutonia Peak). Cholla and prickly pear cactus are common on the slopes of Teutonia Peak. I also saw a few barrel cactus. I especially like how cholla look when backlit against a low sun (See Picture 4).

Once over the saddle, you can view Cima Dome, again. Well, again, you're actually ON Cima Dome the entire hike, but the part that continues to rise is to your west, and visible once you crest the ridge (See Picture 5).

(Picture 6: East from Teutonia Peak). The views from atop Teutonia Peak are expansive. Tall mountains far to the north are visible, as are mountains closer to you, and the aforementioned Cima Dome. In this picture, you're looking to the east. Cima Road is the white line that cuts left to right.

As I mentioned, the camera battery died (about ten seconds after taking this picture), so I was necessarily done with picture taking for the day. I also decided to scrub my Kelso Dunes hike for the day. I'll do that one later.

So, three miles for the day, and about 700 vertical feet. Not bad, for a third consecutive day of hiking.

Not sure if the (blogspot) has changed the interface or if I just pushed a wrong button. Formatting is a little different. Sorry about that!

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