Fellow SP’er Dean
and I were on a week long County Highpointing
trip. Among our previous climbs were Scott Peak
, Diamond Peak
, Mt. Baird
, and Meade Peak
. Today, August 7, 2007 we will be doing Oxford Peak in Oneida County. As an added bonus it will be Dean’s 200th 2,000 ft Prominence Peak
We drove to our trailhead in Davis Basin, but found it occupied by a herd of cattle. It was a smelly, moo-ey mess, so we back tracked about a half mile to the last fork in the road and set up camp in a grove of Aspens. The cattle had been through this area also, but they weren’t here now. We claimed the place by the code of the west – squatters rights.
Since we had been dodging thunderstorms every afternoon all week long, we were determined to get ahead of any weather possibilities on Oxford. We started about an hour before the sun was up, drove down to the cattle infested trailhead, and started up the trail by headlamp. The trail is really a road and not a trail at all. There is a sign at the trailhead indicating it was off limits to vehicles, but ATV’s were ok. ATV’s visit this area a lot and the road is easy to follow.
We made good progress in the dark and were treated to a wonderful sunrise. Occasionally, there were cows near the trail, but they moved away and were not any bother. By the time the sun came up, we were out of the little drainage where the trailhead is located and we were up on the ridge that runs north towards the summit. It is a long 6 mile hike out this ridge to the summit and you can’t really see the summit until you hike about 5 of those miles.
Along the way we left the roadway as it headed down to a cattle watering trough and instead took a shortcut straight along the ridgeline. We located the road again after about a half mile as it came up to the ridgeline again. We saved a little elevation loss/gain by doing that. When we went over point 9098 we finally got our first good view of the summit. It was steep going back down that hill and on the way back we bypassed this hill by taking an alternate trail that contoured around the west side of that point.
We continued on, walked over the southern summit and then on to the northern summit. My GPS said the northern summit was 15 ft higher. I gave Dean the honor of tagging the summit first since this was his 200th P2k (2,000 ft prominence peak). It was a beautiful clear day with a little bit of a breeze blowing.
Soon, the summit party had to end and we headed back the way we came. We were treated to the sight of seeing a golden eagle. It was just sitting on the trail near the top of one of the little knolls that are dotted along the ridge. I walked up to about 100 ft of it and I got to take several pic’s before it got too far away. Another eagle came over and soared with the one that was on the ground and we watched them for a long time.
When we got back to the trailhead, we were thankful that the cows hadn’t been chewing on the plastic parts of our trucks. It took us about 6 hours for this hike and surprisingly there was about 3,700 ft of total elevation gain.