After exploring the arroyo, we drove a short ways back to another arroyo that appeared to thread its way through the gray bluffs of limestone off to the east. Walking along this sun-bleached gravel thoroughfare as it curved back and forth, we eventually realized it wasn't going through, and began climbing up to a low saddle towards some old prospector's cairn of red rock. When we reached it, we sat down, snacked, drank and rested. I thought, no matter what forgotten part of the desert you're walking in, thinking perhaps that yours may be the first human footprints to impress upon that location's sand, rest assured that some prospector, hunter( whether ancient or more recent) or geologist has already been standing in the spot where you are.
I looked at the mass of ridges, humps,slopes and ravines that is Redhouse Mountain. I could see clumps of junipers here and there on the north facing slopes, an area I'd hiked through several years ago on my way to the highpoint. I decided to cross the little drainage directly in front of us to get a look at the larger valley and wash to the west. Seamus saw a red cow down below, when we reached the top of another low saddle and wanted give chase. Instead we walked to the south and ended up at another small tank( also holding water). From there we followed some very old roads to a couple of barite/fluorite prospects. There were a few nice mineral specimens, especially those where a coating of small fluorite crystals encased the large tabular barite. We continued on, making a kind of loop, using old roads and then going cross country back to our original arroyo. Back at the truck, we investigated an area of slanting limestone bedrock in the arroyo that runs between Toby Hole and Hayland Tank and then we headed home. It was a good day of hiking and exploring, but it occurred to me that I may be already done with done with A list destinations near my home, but also the B list as well and now have moved on to those of C caliber. I guess it's the price I pay for not wanting to just do the same hikes over and over again( although I've certainly done some favorites 3,4, 5 or even more times). And yet, as this day proved there is almost always something that will make even a seemingly mundane place interesting and fun.