Hike Taken on February 4th, 2011: A rare Friday hike provided solitude, cool rock hounding and some good winter exercise in the Owyhee Mountain south of Grand View, Idaho.
With the dog in the back seat, my day packed filled with water bottles, doggie treats, my camera and GPS unit, we headed south out of Mountain Home. Our planned destination was Peak 4602, a mountain I have hiked up 3 times already. We parked just off the Poison Creek Cut-off Road and headed cross country to the southwest.
More Motorcycle Tracks
Within 10 minutes, I saw evidence of a motorcycle traveling off road/trail. The tracks were not so fresh but they were plainly visible and rather disappointing. Why can't people behave and just ride their toys in place they should remain. Idiots!
The Out Hike – All Uphill
The first half of the "out hike" was rather flat and easy going. But it didn't take long before this out of shape old guy was huffing and puffing as we started heading uphill. My plan was to head up to the saddle below Peak 4602 via a deep draw. But the last time I was up there that was the route I took. Instead we stayed a little further west heading up a minor ridge line to the saddle.
Addie the Plott Hound enjoyed this hike as she lamely chased a few rabbits, chewed on a few old bones and brought me interesting rocks. Yeah, Addie is quickly becoming a "rock hound dog". In reality, the rocks weren't all that cool but she's new to this rock hounding stuff.
Once up on the saddle below our chosen peak, the rocks started getting better looking. Opal and quartz litter the ground in spots. Then the hike up to Peak 4602 turns steep and the rocks become much less interesting.
On Top of Peak 4602
While the weather down below was in the mid-40's with little wind, the weather on the peak was very windy and cool. I was hiking in a light fleece pullover and sweated quite a bit getting up the peak so we only stayed on top for a few minutes before I started freezing. But some of the rocks on this peak are quite cool.
The Back Hike – Downhill All the Way Baby
My plan was to head back down the mountain along a ridge line to the north-north-east. But the 1st 100-200 yards down was STEEP and "I was afraid my dog might twist a paw and tumble down the rocky slope". So we headed down on the same basic route we hiked up this peak.
Rock Hounding for Agatized Opal/Quartz
I have hiked Peak 4602 a number of times and this is because of the rocks you can find on the summit. Some of the rocks are quite amazing up there. Opal and/or quartz, some of it agatized can be found all along this peak. I also found some fine opal specimens on the way down the mountain but they are hit and miss, just laying on the surface occurrences. Use my rock classification and identification with caution though...I'm not a geologist and just guess what types of rocks these are. In any case, you'll have to work a little to get to this spot as it's about a 2 mile hike to the peak.
Why We Liked This Hike
- I've never seen another soul on this mountain peak or even close to it. It a relatively clean hike with little to no trash but unfortunately cow patties are quite abundant even on the peak itself.
- The rocks in this area are quite collectible for the rock hounder in me. Not that you'll get rich or even be able to do anything with them other than admire your finds.
- While this hike requires a 45 mile drive from Mountain Home, most of it is on paved roads and the gravel road portion is usually in good condition and drys out fast after wet weather.
- Cannot get lost unless your blind and with my new glasses, I'm close to being blind.
- I just plain love the desert in this area.
See more pictures of the rocks I found and some scenery from this hike: https://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/Peak4602InOwyheeSRevisitedForRockHounding?feat=directlink
Want More Information?
Leave a comment and I'll get back to you. If you're looking for directions to Peak 4602? I'll be glad to give them you but only if you promise to leave a comment after you go up there. I'd like to hear what you thought of it and what you found.
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