Friday, October 22, 2010

Hidden Pasture

When I hiked to North Star Peak a couple of years ago to place a Geocache, a divot in the landscape to the north of the peak caught my eye. Turns out it's called Hidden Pasture, and it's enough of a hiking destination to be featured in a guide book and a hike report by Dave Baker of Summithut.

That was good enough for me; I strapped on a pair of foot gloves and set out to explore. I used Baker's map, which I converted to a rough GPS route, as my guide.

Parked alongside Mescal Road next to a dry creek bed, then hiked up to this gate that overlooks the boulder-strewn drainage leading to the pasture.

There are quite a few cairns marking the route. I was unnecessarily fussy about locating and following them, hoping to make a human Etch-a-Sketch tracing of the route. Burned a lot of time this way, and still made a botch of the track. Fact is that so long as you follow the drainage to the northeast, you can't miss.

Terrain along the route was a mixture of granite boulders, coarse sand, catclaw acacia and various grasses.

Chilicote, AKA Rattler Beans. When the pods dry out, brushing up against these guys produces a realistic rattle that'll raise your hackles.

Along the way, I appraised various potential routes to North Star Peak. All of them looked steep and tedious.

The pasture. Was kind of let down that not to see herbivorous dinosaurs grazing down there.

Found a wonderful shade tree and lunched on Sausage Shop jalapeno sticks and cheese.

Glad to go, glad to return. First sighting of the Jeep is always poignant, even on a short trip like this one.

Map of this trip is on everytrail.

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