Hayford Peak, Mount Stirling
By: Dick Akawie
This trip started poorly when I received a telephone call on Friday at 6:30 pm from the leader, Les Stockton, His car had broken down in Saugus, so he gave me some hurried directions for climbing the two peaks, which he had climbed the previous weekend, and asked me to lead the trip. Well ... the group of 12 met at 7 am Saturday at the Corn Creek Station of the Desert Wildlife Range north of Las Vegas. Fortunately, two of the group were Darryl Kuhns and Fred Bode, who had almost gotten to the top of Hayford Peak in a snowstorm and had also scouted the roads to Mt. Stirling on a previous trip. So I appointed Fred assistant leader and Darryl official guide, and we took off for Hayford Peak. We left the low clearance cars at the station. After driving 15 to 16 miles north up Alamo Valley, we turned east on the Hidden Forest road and went about 4 miles to a locked gate near the entrance of the canyon. The group then hiked almost 5 miles along the rocky road to its end at the cabin, where there is good water piped from Wire Grass Spring. Two of the party decided to return to the cars, so the remaining ten of us proceeded up the ridge just to the north of the cabin, which led us to the saddle southwest of the peak. From there it was a simple climb, passing the pinnacles on the left, to the top. The temperature, which had been rather high at the start of the hike, had moderated when it became breezy, so we were comfortable most of the time. After a late lunch., we then proceeded back to the cabin by the same route and then along the road to the cars. By the time we reached the station, it was dark.
Two members of the group left for home (one had hurt his knee), so the remaining ten then drove to U.S. 95 and then northwest. We went 11.3 miles past the water tank tower at Indian Springs and turned in on a dirt road to the power line road, where we camped. By this time the wind had increased to a mild gale, so some of the vehicles were parked in a big U in order to provide some protection for those who had to sleep outside. Cooking was almost impossible, but thanks to the stove in Fred's van, most of us had a warm meal. The wind howled all night, but finally quit a little before dawn. We rose at 6 am, had breakfast, and started driving at 7 am along the dirt road (this is the dirt road just to the east of the 115° 55' mark at the top of the Mt. Stirling quad). The road was rather wretched in places but we reached its end (in section 19) about 8;30 am. The ten of us climbed south-southwest up through a wooded slope and a talus area to a saddle on the ridge. The remainder of the climb west along the ridge was quite slow, not because of the simple bushwhacking that was occasionally necessary, but because it was discovered that many of the slanted rock formations along the ridge had Indian petroglyphs, and there were long stops for examination and photographing. We finally reached the top, had a snack, returned to the cars, and drove back. We were at U.S. 95 by about 1 pm, at which point the group dispersed for home. It was a trip with a few lowlights (the night-time wind and the poor dirt roads) and several highlights (the two peaks, the pretty canyon on the way to Hayford Peak, and the petroglyphs on Mt. Stirling).
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