24-May-2003 -- This would be the second of four successful confluence visits over Memorial Day weekend 2003. Following 35-118, a drive north up Hwy 395 to Coso Junction and a left turn on Sykes Road. The RV was not going to make it much past the second buried water pipeline and so, the plan was to camp for the night.
Early on 24 May the trek began on my trusty Jamis Dakota mountain bike. It was an uphill ride along a 4wd road until N36 00.623 W117 59.082 where I was forced to proceed on foot. My plan was to follow up the canyon as much as I could before the last and unavoidable really steep part. Bushwhacking is an appropriate term to use for my progress here as there are no real trails. Lots of pretty flowers were still apparent courtesy of our very wet spring (relatively speaking). The easiest path was often blocked by lots of impassible brush. Did I mention it was getting hot and it's all up hill? The final climb is literally one step up and a half step slide back in the loose scree and ground cover.
I recognized the spot I needed to go to from pictures from previous visits. The Seidner brother pictures were extremely helpful as I knew right away which side of the valley to favor approaching the point. Pictures from the second posted visit look to be about where I had to abandon my bike before proceeding on foot for at least another hour.
All the while, my wife was keeping tabs on my travel using the polling feature of our Garmin RINO 120's - what an extremely cool feature! We never lost contact throughout my ride and climb. Although the RINO's range is not that of our Motorola Talkabouts, the polling and mapping features of the RINO make them great for hikes and keeping track of your kids.
At the confluence, I set up for some pictures after downing 32oz of gatorade - by the time I would arrive back for a solar shower, I consumed over 132oz of fluid! Try this intersection late fall or early spring!
Picture #1 is a view looking east towards Coso Junction (which consists of mainly a rest stop). The view here is worth the hike. Photo two shows my Garmin "family" still debating which of them is actually at the confluence. The RINO has a very fast update rate however, the eMap can average its location, and the GPS-40 is only a single channel, multiplexing receiver. Having used SA Watch for days at a time, I know that an instantaneous (or even averaged for a short time) reading can be very different from one hours later simply based on the relative satellite geometry to your position. Zeros or ones in the thousandths of mintues is close enough - and all of them are within the published accuracy of the GPS system anyway. Don't get lost seeking absolute precision on your GPS when its accuracy is a relative value. Photo #3 shows how close to the top of the ridge this point really is.
The hike down was very fast about a quarter of the time to go up - expect your feet to be buried above your ankles almost every step during the soft sandy/rocky descent. After I got to my bike, it was coasting all the way down. A bike with front shocks would have made the ride much easier! The shower felt good - one other caution - although it was hot, pants would have been preferable since there are lots of bushes that will unavoidably and significantly scratch up your shins up on this journey.
A challenging intersection best done when it is cooler, but worth the challenge.