It had rained for a week straight. This is almost unheard of in Southern California. I had doubts about this trip, but after checking the weather the day before, it looked like we were good to go. As Manny and I drove over the Cajon Pass to the high desert, where we were greeted by clear blue skies and a setting full moon. It takes three hours to get to Mojave, but good conversation passed the time as always.
It was a short hike today, but the scenery and the terrain were amazing. The hike starts through a narrow slot canyon with fascinating rock formations everywhere, then passes through open desert before ascending Barber Peak. The mountain itself is a giant horseshoe, with our route ascending one side, then traversing across a large plateau before we descended the opposite side.
We ascended the peak by navigating four steep class 2+ scrambling sections. Each of these sections gained 300 to 400 feet in elevation and led to a plateau. It felt like a HIIT workout. We’d scramble hard in Zone 4, then get our heart rates back to Zone 2 on the flat sections before doing it all again. Like every desert summit, it was desolate and vast and beautiful in a way only desert summits can be. It was 50 degrees and clear blue skies. It felt great to be alive. I’m so thankful we got to take this little adventure today.
On the way home, we saw a sign for Mitchell Caverns, so we took a quick detour. The caverns had just reopened after being closed for nearly 10 years. We wanted to take the tour, but reservations have to be made in advance, and they were fully booked. From the photos we saw, the caverns were quite extensive and had stunning formations throughout. The tour takes two hours, so we decided we’d come back with our families another time.