Strawberry Peak via Redbox Canyon. Distance: 8.5 miles. Elevation Gain: 2,600 ft. My hiking partner and I started at 7 AM during a foggy, drizzly morning. Despite the fog and gray skies, the trail itself and surrounding flora was bright and colorful. The trail itself was a gradual uphill for the first 2.5 miles, before it started getting steep and technical, with a couple of false summits. We could not see thru the mist any further than the next rise, so we kept pushing forward until we eventually arrived at the peak. We were not the only ones on the trail, either; we encountered about 10 other hikers and a sweet dog who were equally undeterred by rainy weather and gray skies to hike this awesome peak.
Instead of hiking the easy way back down, I proposed that we bag Mt Lawlor while we’re there, just so we can accomplish bagging two peaks in one shot! The trail towards Lawlor is unmarked and I only was able to make it out from navigating thru a downloaded map. It is a steep rise along a narrow ridge, and some parts are quite sketchy. But my hiking partner is a real trooper and encouraged us to push onward until we reached the summit; there was only an empty post marking it. There may have been a sign on it at one point but nothing indicating that it was a summit of interest. Nothing remarkable about it at all. I imagine the views might’ve been stunning on a clear day.
We took the use-trail directly down from the summit’s south slope that eventually met up with the regular trail at the Strawberry/Lawlor saddle. This was an established trail but looked like originally intended for a maintenance crew than actual hikers due to its steepness and no switchbacks. We saw truncated telephone poles every 100 ft or so, all the way back down to the junction. We think they’re old telegraph lines. Indeed, we found some thick wires near the bottom that served as hand lines.
Interestingly, along the edges of the trail, the spikes on the yucca plants had been trimmed, probably not even 2 days prior; the cuttings were still fresh and looked like someone had taken the time, trouble and care to do this. If you really want a good workout then definitely hike straight up from the Strawberry/Lawlor Saddle to the summit for some Class 3 scrambling, and not too many sharp jabs from the yuccas thanks to a kind stranger!
All told, it was a wonderful hike with great company.