Mastadon Peak and other goodies
We left Palm Springs on Christmas morning, ready to head back out to the desert for some hiking. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooporating and most of the surrounding ranges were completely socked in. That, combined with the ridiculous wind forecast, had me rather disappointed as we worked our way down highway 10 towards the Patton Museum at Chiriaco Summit. Our plan for the day was to summit Monument Peak, but things weren’t looking good.
After checking out the Patton Museum we dug into our pile of desert books – Rock Climbing Joshua Tree, Gem Hunting, Desert Summits, On Foot in Joshua Tree, Hiking the Desert Parks, Southern California 4×4 Trails, etc. I think we brought our entire library covering the area. It didn’t take long to find something doable in bad weather – an old Fluorite Mine in the Orocopia Mountains only a few miles down an easy 4×4 road.
We explored the mine area for a while and found some nice samples. It was perfect timing – while the surrounding ranges were blanketed with clouds, the Orocopia Mountains were under the only clearing within sight. After playing around for a while we headed into the park where we visited with the Christmas on-duty rangers and then did the short Mastadon Peak loop. Mastadon Peak wasn’t exactly the magnitude of peak I was hoping for this day, but it was still a nice hike and gave us some excellent views into the pediment below.
After Mastadon peak we headed north through the park to our campsite for the night at White Tank near Arch Rock. This was the coldest day and night of the trip thanks to the clearing skies and blowing winds. I’m glad it didn’t last!
- Pictures of Mastadon Peak and the other activities are here.
- Information on the Mastadon Peak loop at Everytrail.