Castle Dome, Signal Peak
By: Larry Tidball, Scott Jamison
We had 11 people signed up for this trip, and everyone showed up at the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge meeting point. We consolidated into 4WD vehicles for the drive up Kofa Queen Canyon to the start of route "C" in the Peak Guide. We all enjoyed the great scenery and wild flowers as we hiked up Ten Ewe Canyon. Shortly after a break in the bottom portion of the canyon Henry Arnebold noticed that his watch was missing. We built a duck to note the point and continued on up the canyon to the peak. The upper portion of Ten Ewe was fun with a little low 3rd class rock. Once we arrived at the Saddle at 4200' the terrain really eased off, and we continued over to the rather non-descript summit. After a short break on the summit we returned by the same route. As we passed the "look out for the watch duck" we all spread out and searched for Henry's watch as we continued on down the canyon. There was no sign of it until we reached the site of your previous stop. We asked Henry if he was sure he had his watch on the way up, and he said that he was sure that he was standing right "here" when he checked the time. And lo and behold as he moved to that spot, the watch was there in the sand. Continuing on to the cars, we caravaned back out of the canyon, and located a campsite not far from the road junction that all of the 2WD cars could get into. Although it was rather windy, we had a great happy-hour and pot luck with Barbee doing here BBQ chicken. Sunday morning we drove on down to the trailhead for Castle Dome Peak. At the trailhead we were joined by 2 climbers from San Diego who had arranged to meet us by phone. We followed the standard route up the canyon, and as we hiked along all chatting away, we actually went too far up the canyon before we notice our error. It was however, no problem to climb out of the wash and then traverse due South along the base of the Dome to arrive at the Saddle just West of the Peak. From here we followed the standard duck marked route up the 3rd class summit mass. From the summit we noticed a large blimp tethered over the Military Reservation to the South. Discussion among the group led to the conclusion that this is one of a number of anti-drug smuggling radar blimps along the Mexican boarder. We all had a great weekend in the desert, and as we drove back through Quartzsite & Blythe we were glad we not apart of the annual RV encampment going on there. 200,000 people, at least as reported by one local in Blythe.
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