Since its been a surprisingly warm and dry winter,
last month I headed out to join a group hiking up to Owens peak.
Now this would be no simple task as Owens peak is the highest point in the southern Sierra Madre Mountains at more than 8,400 feet. Also the trail starts fairly far up in Indian Wells Valley at the end of a jeep trail so this called for the bug to do a little trail driving. As it was I totally underestimated the drive time and arrived a good half hour after the rest of the group had already left. I headed up the trail anyway hoping Id see them near the top. Somewhere around 7600′ of elevation (according to my gps) I lost the trail though. It was not well marked at higher elevations and as I scrambled over weathered granite and piles of loose scree I realized I was following what was probably a mule deer trail. I reached the rocks just below the peak (approx 8000′ elevation) and decided that the crumbly nature of these rocks didn’t lend themselves to a safe ascent so I began making my way back down. A little disappointment I didn’t reach the peak, but that’ll give me a reason to come back and enjoy the wonderful views on a different day. Once back at the trail head I waited around till others from the group came down and i found out that several others had missed the upper part of the trail as well. apparently it veers off to the left even though the peak is to your right as you go up, then follows a ridge around to the top. So now I know for next time.