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Newcomb Peak and Peak 4492I promised Cecelia an exciting benchmark hunt. Instead she received a whole lotta stupid adventure that is probably best forgotten and never ever mentioned again. But now that I've started this story I might as well finish it, right?
They say laughing at yourself is the best medicine. And I feel like I need many types of medicine to make the pain (and memories) go away. While I'd much prefer narcotics, laughter will have to do, because I'm fresh out of heroin.
Stupid thing #1
When we arrived at Mt. Wilson, the gate was closed because the park opens at 10am. Thinking it was 8:30am, and not wanting to wait, we parked down the road, outside the fence. If I had remembered to set my car clock one hour ahead for Daylight Savings on Sunday, perhaps I would have waited a half hour to park inside, which would have saved us some extra walking--and fence-jumping.
After prep time and the extra efforts, we reached the Rim Trailhead by 10am.
Cecelia and I had both done the Rim Trail before. But I thought it would be the easiest way to bag Newcomb Peak, which neither of us had visited. Near the start we encountered a family of deer.
Stupid thing #2
I took a decent picture of the deer. But then I processed the hell out of it in Picasa when I was half-asleep. So now the picture looks like a cartoon.
Several downed trees blocked the trail. Cecelia counted about ten obstacles.
We took a break at Newcomb Pass.
The little flies had started annoying us. But their pestering failed to reach critical status, thanks in part to several stretches of cool shade and mild breezes.
Next we utilized the old fire road to Newcomb Saddle.
This saddle had a few things going on. We met some mountain bikers. One was fixing his tire, while another was performing gymnastics in order to climb atop the water tank. Cecelia found an easier way onto the tank by going around to the back of it.
My standard question to bikers now is, "Where did you come from?" These fellas had come all the way from Azusa, having ridden up the canyon to the West Fork, and then up the Redbox-Rincon Road to the saddle here. Quite a journey.
The map showed a body of water around a corner at the saddle. Curious, I wandered over and found it.
How strange to see a scummy little pond along this ridgetop. I kept it in mind as a last-resort watering hole.
From the saddle, the half-mile jaunt to Newcomb Peak required little effort. An old service road led to the electrical towers on the summit.
Being a LPC peak, there was a register.
There was also a decent view of Cogswell Dam.
But other than that this hill disappointed me. First, the electrical towers hog up the small peak area. And second, the peak area is a mess with junky overgrowth, leaving no good place to sit and providing no good shady spots to get out of the sun.
Cecelia signed the register while I started hunting for the Newcomb benchmark under piles of twigs and leaves, and around the tower footings. But even with both of us searching, we couldn't locate any sign of it, and soon I was eager to get going.
The next goal happened to be another old benchmark location.
Stupid thing #3
I knew that Middle Benchmark was further up the road. But I didn't know exactly how far, because I didn't have the full Tom Harrison map and was using a partial, piecemeal topo that I had zoomed in too much. I couldn't tell where Middle Benchmark was in relation to other important landmarks. And this stupidity caused me to semi-blindly navigate us to neighboring Peak 4492 instead.
Despite this error, I enjoyed 4492 better than Newcomb Peak. The views are great. No tower on top. And while the summit area is also messy, it is broader than Newcomb, and a few places can be found to sit down or even enjoy some shade if you wander around a bit.
Thinking we were on Middle Peak, we conducted a fairly thorough search for a benchmark. Of course, we did not find one. However, during the search, Cecelia noticed a water trough for animals.
It's fed by this tank that catches rainwater.
Stupid thing #4
Now I had stupidly brought only two liters of water. And I was getting low on fluid with the entire climb back to Mt. Wilson coming up next. My backup was the scummy pond water at the saddle. But in comparison this animal trough looked super yummy. I mean, the water was actually clear. Plus, I figured it was for thirsty animals--and, hey, I'm a thirsty animal! So I filled a liter and dropped in two purification tablets, feeling a little less stupid for leaving my other drinks in the car.
It was a slow climb back on the Rim Trail. Cecelia did everything in her power to motivate me up the switchbacks, including an offer to massage my back. But sometimes not even feminine charms can stop a man from resting in the shade three or four times.
Map: From Newcomb Pass to Peak 4492.
Picked up and packed out: mtb handle bar grip, mtb reflector, food wrapper, hair scrunchie, three misc. pieces of plastic, three aluminum cans, a plastic water bottle, a piece of rope, two balloons.
Newcomb PeakNice report! It was an awesome adventure! My favorite part was seeing you huff and puff on the trail lol... but then you sprung back to life after that delicious pizza we had after a long day
We set out on from Mt Wilson a few years ago on the Rim trail. I think our original goal was Newcomb Peak. However, when we reached the pass, we agreed that neither of us was looking forward to going back up the Rim trail, which was slidy and had tons of face-height poodle dog at the time. We pulled out the map and decided instead to loop up the Sturtevant trail, which was a weird decision for us due to the added length and also the Sturtevant had kicked my butt on my prior visit. It turned out fine, even enjoyable. Now I see there wasn't much at the peak anyway!