www.MountainHiker.org

Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Oct 18, 2014 - Jobs Peak / Lovers Leap

 

Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 15.35 miles

Elevation Gain: 4,390 feet

Trip Time: 6:50

Maps and Stats:
It had been 3 weeks since my snowstorm visit to Jobs Peak which resulted in my losing my GPS unit in the rocks near the summit. I had searched in vain for the device after I lost it, but without any luck. I offered a reward of $75 for its safe return, however, it was lost off trail and I knew it would be difficult for someone else to find. In the meantime I borrowed Kyle's GPS, and now that the early season snows had a chance to melt it was time to go back to Jobs and look for the missing GPS.

Kyle was joining me on this hike, partially to help look for the GPS and partially because he had yet to summit Jobs. In preparation for the hike I loaded the GPS file from the previous Jobs Peak hike that was on my watch into Kyle's GPS. Using that I could see the exact area that I walked back and forth over when I was looking for the device after losing it in the snow. It looked to be a 500 foot stretch, perhaps 20 feet wide.

We met up at the Target in Rancho Cordova, carpooling up the the small turnout opposite of the forest service road on Highway 89 at 10:45. It was a beautiful day, sunny and pleasantly cool. There was no sign of the snowstorm that had hit only 3 weeks earlier, raising my optimism that we would find the device. My car can't drive up the FS road, so we started hiking up the 4+ miles of road to the turnoff where we would head cross country. The only real evidence of the previous storm were the streams that had come back to life. As we followed the road we could see Freel Peak off to our left. I had not been able to see it on the previous visit and Kyle and I talked about perhaps continuing on over to Jobs Sister and Freel after finishing Jobs.

By 12:30 we started on the semi-cross country potion. There appeared to be several use trails, although we largely ignored them, unsure as to whether or not they would head up to the peak. AFter a while we came across a trail that followed a drainage and climbed steeply uphill, and we decided to follow that. This was several hundred feet north of the route I had taken up in the snow, but we didn't have to worry about retracing my steps until we were much closer to the summit. On this use trail we said hello to a man with a dog heading down, which I would later determine was Steve and Otter based on their (well Steve's) signature earlier that day in the register. Steve had let me know through this website that he had looked for my GPS but to no avail. By 1:20 we were on the upper ridge and could see Jobs Peak ahead. It was here that I looked around, trying to locate the area where I got lost in the snow and looking for the large rock that I ducked behind when pausing to consider my options. Since we were on the trail we wound up staying about 50 feet below, but I saw the area from below, now looking quite harmless.

We continued along the trail, noticing a few lingering snow patches as we made our way towards the location on the GPS that showed where we needed to start looking for my lost GPS device. We left the trail to get up to the ridgeline that I had been following 3 weeks earlier and started looking for the device. We walked very slowly, with me staying about 10 feet to the right of Kyle as we both scoured the ground looking for the unit. We had only been looking for about 5 minutes when Kyle yelled out that he could see something ahead. I couldn't see anything from where I was but I ran down to see what he found. He reached under the rock and triumphantly held up my found GPS! I was pretty excited about this, having saved the $300 and somewhat improbably finding the unit. My previous theory about what happened to the device was undoubtedly accurate. In climbing up the rocks in the snow, I had angled my body in just the right manner to send the device tumbling from the snow jacket pocket (I normally keep it in my pants pocket). It then either slid down or was simply immediately buried by the snow, and when the snow melted it came to rest at the bottom of the start of the rocky area. Now that the device was found I suddenly realized that the unit might not have survived many days buried in snow and water. I changed out the batteries and tried to turn the unit on - and it worked! My mission for the day was accomplished.

Now we could go ahead and finish the last little bit to get to the summit. We bypassed the clearly lower bump that I had first thought was the summit 3 weeks ago, Kyle spending a minute trying to straighten a tall pole that had been placed in the rocks. It was near here that Kyle spotted the summit container, a mailbox placed in the rocks about 20 feet below the actual summit. I had not seen this in my previous visit, and now that I could see that the register was quite a ways from the actual summit that part made more sense to me now. We signed in and made the class 2 climb up to the summit proper, arriving at exactly 2 PM.

The views from the summit were expansive and spectacular, looking over to Freel and Jobs Sister, decent views of Lake Tahoe, further east into Nevada, and back toward the peaks to the south. We took our summit shots (Kerry, Kyle) and got started heading down. We still felt like going for the triple summit, and so instead of heading down we made a right turn to head towards the saddle between Jobs and Jobs Sister. The trip over here was steep and sandy, but mostly on a use trail that would periodically disappear. In all we lost about 800 feet of elevation by the time we reached the point where it was time to head uphill towards Jobs Sister. There was no longer a trail visible, and so we started up making our own trail up the steep, sandy slope. This was a nightmare, as the sand was soft and deep, reducing the result of each step to mere inches of gain. We went up about 100 feet and stopped to decide if we really wanted to do this. I was on the fence, and was prepared to be convinced either way. We had both already done Jobs Sister and Freel previously so there was little urgency in completing this traverse. Kyle didn't care if we continued, and I got a second wind and suggested we go on. We started back up and after only a few more fruitless steps I proclaimed that "this sucks" and said we should just go down. Kyle agreed.

So we made the short trip back down to the saddle. We had no interest in climbing back up to the Jobs ridgeline, so we went cross country downhill. There were a few moments of difficulty, as we wound up following a drainage that at times was choked with debris and we found that staying just to the north of the drainage was easier going. Eventually we found another use trail which took us much of the way back down to the road. Once back on the road we knew we had another 4 miles of road walking ahead, but we lucked out when 2 hikers whom we had seen near the top of Jobs Peak were driving their truck out and asked if we wanted a ride. We accepted with much appreciation, as road hiking is just short of annoying. We hopped in the truck bed and about 20 bumpy minutes later we were deposited on Highway 89, mere feet from the car.

Because we had saved so much time, we wanted to hike something else before going home. We figured we had maybe 1 1/2 hours, and we decided to try an easy hike to Lovers Leap since it was on the way home. We had tried to find the trail for Lovers Leap several months ago, but had only looked for the trail near Strawberry. We knew that there was an easier trail that connected from Camp Sacramento on Highway 50, and decided to give it a go. Lovers Leap is famous as a rock climbing destination, certainly not as a hiking spot and so this should be easy. We parked in the lot in front of the Mt. Ralston trail which was signed as Camp Sacramento. It took us several minutes to realize that Camp Sacramento was actually across the Highway, and so we ran across the road and found large camp area, with many cabins and buildings that had already been boarded up for the winter.

At the edge of camp we found a small sign labeled "LL" which we surmised was short for Lovers Leap. We followed the sign and found a very well defined trail. It was an easy walk through the forest, a bit steep in a couple of places but overall a pleasant stroll. It took less than 30 minutes to reach the trails end, from which a large flat area lay out in front of us. We went to the edge, enjoying the views down the steep face before heading up to the obvious highpoint. From here we had a great view of Pyramid Peak to the north and took summit shots of ourselves before starting back down. We were back at Camp Sacramento by 6:20 for a round trip hike of 1 hour.

As I packed my stuff into the car I saw an iPhone laying on the ground, its back smashed but otherwise still in working order. I figured it had been just lost, as I hadn't seen it when we got here (I reviewed my picture of my car from our arrival and it turns out that the iPhone was on the ground when we arrived). Not sure what to do, I looked at the phone log, figuring whoever lost it would call the phone in the hopes they would hear it ring. There were a couple of missed calls, but when I called the number the mailbox was full. Kyle came up with the idea of attempting a text message, and when we opened the texts we saw that most of them were primarily from 1 person. I texted that person and within a minute was surprised to get a response. I asked if we should leave the phone on site, and the other person asked where we were going. I said the Bay Area, which must have been in the opposite direction from the phone's owner because they asked if we could leave the phone. I said it would be under the Mt. Ralston trailhead sign, and I took a picture of the sign, texted it to them, and then put the phone under some small rocks to hide it. Hopefully they were as successful in finding their lost property as I was on this day!

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