Kingston Range Backpack:  April 12 -14 2003.

(Note;  along with placing a link to this site on the official Desert Survivors website, the web master asked me to add some descriptive text.  Since the master must be obeyed, here's some text.  I have also added
an animated map and some shrike information at the end of the photos, and also a link back so Desert Survivors don't become lost in cyberspace after viewing the slideshow.  -Paul Brickett)

Twelve participants made the typical 8 am rendezvous at the post office in Tecopa, CA, many of us having been stuck in stop-and-go traffic on I-15 between Barstow and Baker about 8 hours earlier. After driving past old talc mines towards Kingston as far as our various vehicles cared to go, we packed up the jeep road and across the wilderness boundary west of Kingston Peak.  Noticing another participant admiring a flowering yucca, I went over to photograph it and found the hanging carcass shown below.  I was glad to learn that the other participant was not into decorating plants with dead animals, but much more likely the lizard had been impaled by a shrike, a bird know to love lizard kabobs.  (Picture and information on shrikes is at the bottom of the trip pictures.)

After camping in the valley west of Kingston Peak, we headed up to the summit in the morning.  The one lowlight of the ascent was passing by the massive guzzler facility which looked like three large damaged septic tanks.  Although we saw a total of three bighorn sheep elsewhere on the trip, there was no evidence of bighorn presence in this area, obviously because of their more refined esthetic sensitivities.  Even our leader decided for us to return to camp by an alternate route which avoided the guzzlers.  Although rain was threatening in the morning, it held off until the next afternoon and we had fun scrambling up and down Kingston Peak, with lunch enjoyed at the summit.  

bighorn back
Link to Desert Survivors Past Trips page

Click on image for larger view, and slideshow (map at bottom not in slideshow).

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Dave Halligan surveys the dawn from campsite south of Tecopa. Cactus flower. Lizard. Yucca.
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Flowering yucca, with impaled lizard visible in background. Lizard impaled upon yucca spine, presumably by a shrike (see bottom). Jessica on trail. Flowering yucca, with mysterious rock face on ridge.
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Close-up of mysterious rock face. First evening at camp. Steve Thaw surveys scenery. Hurrying by god-awful guzzlers.
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Short rock climb on assent. Bighorn skull. Two live bighorn declined to pose for photo. Lynn and Bruce ascending towards peak. Greg lunches at summit of Kingston Peak.
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One of many giant Nolinas found on flanks of Kingston Peak. Steve, Murel, and Bruce descending from Kingston Peak. Panoramic view from outcrop below Kingston Peak. Kim and Bruce descending through the Nolinas.
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Minor incident on departure from Kingston Range. Where's Kingston?  Animated .gif  zooms topography.  Warning: 1.84 MB.
Alleged lizard spiker (Audubon guide photo).
Audubon guide shrike information, plus.

bighorn back