Distance: 8 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 4351'
Elevation Gain: 2200'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.76
Round trip time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Recommended water: 68 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Sunrise Highway (S1)
After completing Garnet Peak and Garnet Mountain, I was warmed up and ready for Roost Benchmark (SDC #44). Roost was meatier than the Garnets, featuring a canyon profile (descent first, ascent on return) and some class 2 to reach the summit. I parked at the Lucky 5 Ranch gate and crossed the highway to the starting gate. From there, you can see the top of Roost, lower and in the distance. It is a winding route to get to it. The first part of the trail is a dirt road. After a short rise, it starts dropping. As it started to descend, I noticed a memorial on the right side of the trail to John Michael Farawell, complete with worn out hiking boots. According to the sign, his lifespan was only 24 years. It's sad to think he only made it to 24, but someone built him a nice memorial. I couldn't find any details online. Just past the first switchback, the road split, and the one heading toward Roost (left) became somewhat overgrown. It didn't require bushwhacking, more like bush dodging as it descended into Oriflamme Canyon. There was a fallen tree near the bottom that required a bypass. Most of the elevation change is spent descending into and climbing out of Oriflamme Canyon. Even though you can see the elevated road cut of S1 from most points along the way, I got a feeling of isolation. About half way, there is a buried water tank next to some odd looking posts. In fact, there were several water troughs in the area, presumably for unseen cattle. There were also a lot of deer prints and coyote scat along the trail.
The trail rolls gently up and down after it climbs out of Oriflamme Canyon until it dies out. Roost is not visible for most of the hike. If you follow the road all the way, as I did, Roost might be hidden by the intervening bump. I veered east to a saddle where Roost came into view. When I got to the first bump, I sidehilled around it, though I think going over it is easier. I picked my way up class 2 boulders to the summit of Roost, a perfect perch above Mason Valley. I found a benchmark on the summit as well as a lightly filled register book going back to 2011. Roost seemed to be far less popular than the Garnets. The summit views were exceptional and I hung around a while taking in the desert grandeur. The return was uneventful.