From the snow to the desert, December 10, 2016.

After last week’s adventure on Goodykoontz, I decided to join the Sierra Club outing in Joshua Tree National Park to hike up Bernard and Little Berdoo Peaks, with Peak 5435 as a bonus.

I met part of the hiking group at the Joshua Tree visitor Center at 07:45AM, after which we drove to the Sheep Pass campground, where we met the rest of the group and consolidated into 3 four wheel drive vehicles. From there we drove to the “trail head” on Berdoo Canyon Road, which was nothing more than a place to park our vehicles next to the dirt road.

There were no signs of a trail head or a trail for that matter. After we all introduced ourselves, Matt led the way into the desert using his trusty GPS. After the first mile we started climbing up a canyon between two ridges, which was filled with huge boulders we had to climb around and over. About half way up this canyon we took a short break. On we went, and once we reached the top of the camyon we hiked up a steep slope towards Peak 5435, our bonus peak. Scrambling to the summit of this peak was quick and easy. There was a strong wind blowing around the top of the peak, and when we did not find a Register, we decided to drop back down below to a large rock section which protected us from the wind, where we took our lunch break.

From the summit of Peak 5435 we could see our two main objectives: Bernard and Little Berdoo Peaks. Getting to the summit of Bernard took about 15 minutes, again doing a quick scramble up the summit rocks. After signing the Register and taking some pictures we dropped down the other side of the peak, and hiked over another bump and across a short plateau to the base of Little Berdoo. Following a use trail, we made it to the summit in short order. We stayed here for a little while, enjoying the views, and congratulating Edith and Martin with the 14th anniversary of climbing this peak. They had met on this peak 14 years ago, and came back this year to celebrate being together for all these years.

Going back down, we took a slightly different route around the other side of Bernard, eventually meeting up at the top of the canyon we had come up earlier. The rock hopping down to the canyon floor was not too bad, and the last mile back to our vehicles was easy, with the help of Mat’s GPS!

Martin drove us back to the campground, where I noticed a warning note on my windshield that said I was not supposed to park where I did. Several other cars had the same note on them, but fortunately we did not get an actual ticket. After dropping Jim off at the Visitor Center, I drove back home having to deal with terrible traffic the whole way. The mental relaxation experienced during the hike was quickly offset by the stress of driving home….