Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Red House Mountain

Redhouse Mountain high point

west view from the summit

There's something disconcerting about being alone on a summit when the wind is blowing 60 miles an hour. It doesn't matter that the peak is not particularly high( which it isn't). It doesn't matter that the summit is relatively flat with plenty of room to move about ( which it was). It doesn't matter that it was a rather warm early spring( technically still winter) day. It just feels strange to do things alone anyway sometimes, but with the wind blowing like that- it starts to feel wrong.We're sort of used to the wind here. I mean we're not surprised by it. We do avoid it. When I began my hike down the old mine road, it was sunny, warm and a little breezy.Down in the narrow crack of a canyon , there was almost no wind at all. But I once I started side-hilling to gain some elevation, I realized it was blowing a steady gale. I got one more reprieve down in a juniper grove tucked into an east facing arroyo, but once I gained the wide ridge line there was no escaping the deafening wind, that I reasonably estimate was blowing a steady 35-40 mph and gusting frequently in the 50-60 mph range. I knew I wouldn't get blown off the mountain, but like I said it just feels wrong to be on these bare desert hilltops in all that wind.  I didn't linger on the rounded bump of a summit. I tried to take a refuge among rocks on the nearby slightly slower summit to south but to little avail. I powered through wind until I was down in the narrow canyon. Redhouse Mountain is the high point of the southern part of the Caballo Mountains. This section is more of a jumble of limestone hills and ridges, very different from the massive , singular flat-topped ridge that runs parallel to Caballo Lake. It's a fairly quick off-trail climb, just try not to do it in the wind.

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