Black Mountain #6

November 24, 2023.

12.3 mi. | 2330′ ele. gain | 6:30 hr.

Photo album

This hike falls squarely into the “because it’s there category” that has become all so common on this trip.

There are countless mountains I’d like to climb, I’ve got list after list after list. However, what I’m able to climb is highly dependent on where specifically we park the van. I can try to find strategic camping, as I did here, or else I need to wake up, look around and point at the closest blip on the horizon.

In my research, I found some route descriptions for Black Mountain #6 (numbered because it has a common name) but they all started from a gnarly road on the other side of the peak. I’ll take an easier drive and longer hike than an annoying drive an shorter hike any day. I found a nice dispersed campsite roughly 5 miles due west of the summit. So on this lovely fall morning, I picked out an old road heading roughly in the direction I wanted to go and started walking.

Desert calico

I could have easily blasted through the road walk, but I kept stopping to ogle the wildflowers. They were everywhere! Evening primrose, desert calico, so many GDYC‘s. Not to mention all the Joshua trees and cholla cactus, looking sparkly in the sunshine. It was so beautiful! I followed the road up to what appeared to be an old mine, then I picked a ridge and followed it up to the horizon. The tricky thing about walking to the horizon is that you never quite get there…

Once I reached one bump that led to another, then another. A sinuous ridge of blocky sub-peaks eventually put me on track to reach the summit of Black Mountain #6. I knew I reached it when I opened an ammo canister to find no less than five notebooks filled with entries dating back to 1970. A popular place, it must be on some important list!

You can blame the LA chapter of the Sierra Club for all the visitors 🙂

To me, it was just one of those “hey I think I can walk there from the van” peaks. Regardless of its overall popularity, there was no one else there on this day, so I enjoyed a long summit break by myself. Then I roughly retraced my steps to the van. In the last mile, I pulled out my little trash bag and stopped to pick up any garbage I found along the road. I filled it up with cans and bottles by the time I returned. This is a good habit to get into on your next hike, if you don’t do this already.

All day I scoured the landscape for desert tortoise, tarantula, rattlesnake, anything to indicate I was in the desert. I did at one point see a flash out of the corner of my eye: a jackrabbit. Later, another flash: a coyote. Mammals are cute and all but you never get to really see them. If you find a reptile or insect, at least you get some time to enjoy them!

Minus the constant drone of ATVs ripping around the nearby roads, this area was quite nice. In the wilderness, where motor vehicles are not allowed, there is lots of room to roam around and explore. I’d come back here, maybe not on a holiday weekend, maybe when the flowers are in peak bloom.

Joshua trees line the desert floor

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