Mount Palmer, Grapevine Peak
By: Linda McDermott
I figured out how: DPS initiates new vehicles. For each month of newness, there needs to be one dent. I bought my new' Toyota Tacoma 2WD truck at the end of February. By the first of May I had two dents. I guess I consider them well earned battle scars.
I drove to the beginning of the dirt road for Palmer/Grapevine, then slept until Vic and Sue Henney pulled in about 11:00 pm. It was interesting following their car in the dark, as large clouds of dust created dirt "white outs" at times. Very kindly, the Henneys waited at intersections. It took about an hour to get to the interesting part. This was midnight.
Vic and Sue headed up a steep road, and I tried to follow then decided to honk because it appeared too steep for my vehicle. By then, their vehicle had stalled anyhow. We decided to back down the road. I was the one who had to back down first, which was fine except I couldn't see that the road had a steep curve which easily carried my car into two huge rocks, one behind each of the passenger side wheels. Vic dug out one rock, but the other was a bear. My car was going nowhere with the rocky steep grade.
We dug out two pieces of sling that Vic had and several tie-down straps that I had to tie the cars together. The first try got my car out (never doubt the strength of that sling material!), however the car slid back into the rock when I backed down. We had to rebuild the road, pull my car out once again further forward, and finally were successful at getting the car back down the steep road. Moral of this story: I immediately bought a tow rope when I reached civilization.
The climbs? They went beautifully We got a 6:30 am start for Palmer (Vic relented on his 6:00 am start time because of our prior night's adventure). Poor Vic and Sue had to put up with one of my better "whining" days - "Is it REALLY that peak WAY over there?" "You sure it's not that one in the middle?" There are many ups and downs on the peak, plus it was a bit hot in the afternoon which slows me down. I can blame the fact that I had a cold also - any excuse for the whining. We really had a beautiful trip, great weather and great pace for me. The route went as described, though we started from the camping spot, not the top of the 4WD saddle. The roads were in good shape, though the last pitch needs 4WD.
Grapevine went easily, though I was slower this day. Once we got to the saddle again, the peak was off to the right, the ridge running fairly easily over to it, with occasional use trails.
My thanks to Vic and Sue for such a great weekend and great job leading!
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