I decided to take a break from the Antelope Peak - UT quadrangle and move south and attempt to finish up some of the easier to reach peaks in the Silver Peak - UT quad. I’ve already picked off a couple of the peaks in the area, and like all areas, half the battle is finding a good road that will take you where you want to go (see Antelope Peak trip report). In preparation for the hike, I mapped out my routes, potential parking areas and updated my GPS with the new information.
The weather continues to be fantastic for early morning hiking and staying close to home, so I pack my lunch including snacks and head for the door slightly before 7:00 am. The drive isn’t long, and I note the turn off for two relatively easy peaks I’ve marked in the adjacent quadrangle that I still haven’t gotten to yet. Not much further is the turn off onto the well maintained Desert Mound dirt road. I won’t be on this maintained road for long and soon enough turn to the drivers left up a pitted, gullied, and rocky road.
The road is worse than I remember from my earlier drive to Peak 7450 but I continue driving thinking it can’t get much worse. It does and by the time I am making my way up the wash connecting me to the high plateau between Peaks 7450, 7284 and 7195, I am worried I’ll have to hike part of the way up the road.
The gullies are deep and I feel my Fj fight for purchase with a wheel or two off the ground. These roads are mostly traveled by ATV’s now so underbrush, tire width, and vehicle length are all changing as I crawl up the hillside in my jeep. I finally make it to the high plateau and find a parking spot near my first marker for peak 7284.
Juniper trees are thick in this area as I pick my way through them heading in a general westerly direction. My GPS is locked onto peak 7284 but I have to zig and zag so often to avoid patches of dense trees that I am glad I have the tracker turned on. It’s easy to get turned around in these trees and I’m thankful when I run across a well-worn game trail leading toward the ridgeline.
The summit of peak 7284 is a nondescript pile of rocks along a large ridge. The GPS summit is further off to the east and I neglected to gather the summit actual for this location. The thick Juniper Trees make any views difficult, but as I follow the prominent ridgeline back toward the road a viewing area opens up to beautiful views south.
I follow the prominent ridgeline for a while, but I’ll need to eventually move off the ridge to avoid the steep drop off into the road/wash that I drove in on. There are three ridgelines moving up the western face of peak 7284 and the current one I am following has a dog leg hook and a steep drop, I followed the middle minor ridgeline up and I start to work my way toward that ridgeline now. I don’t ever stumble across my nice game trail even after checking my GPS tracks, I’m close, but decided to just keep heading down. Reaching the more level section of trees I keep moving and after a time decide to consult my GPS tracks again. I’m 10’ feet from the road and can’t see it. I’ve already passed the jeep and have to hike over to the road and back again. These trees are thick.
Back and the Fj, I eat a snack and check my time. The hike itself didn’t take very long, clocking in at 59 minutes. I had already backed the Fj into a cubby hole between the trees, so I turn on the air conditioner and continue on down the road toward my second peak for the day.
Listed on the map as “Antelope Range”, peak 7195 has a roundabout approach by road. I’ve already marked the path on the GPS map and I weave in and out of the never-ending Juniper trees. The roads spider in this area and I follow the red marker of my outline. Heading down a gully between peak 7195 and the non-ranked peak to the east I find a wide spot in the road for me to park.
The climb starts immediately as I work up the small saddle between the peak and the knoll. The hiking is more difficult as there are large lava rock beds located along the eastern face of the peak. The beds are not difficult to traverse and the rocks and jagged and “lock” into place with each other. The climb is deceptive and I work between rock and dirt, between trees and small cliff bands. The summit ridge is a lava backbone with absolutely stunning views in all directions.
I eat lunch and admire the view. The peaks 7270, 7097 and 6995 can be seen from this location, but there is no easy way to get to them without a long ridgeline hike between the peaks. I’ve mapped out a potential route to peak 7270 from the location back near my first stop, but it is still a long way away and I’m positive I will not be making the hike today. The true downside is I’ll need to drive up the gulch again at some future date.