Leader: John Frost|
Asst.: Janis Hawley
Thirty ambitious peak baggers assembled at the early hour of 7:00 a.m. at the Palomar Observatory on April 2, for the 20 mile Morgan Hill-Eagle Crag hike. Instead of doubling back after climbing Eagle Crag, the group continued on down the Crossley Truck Trail and met Highway 74 near the Dripping Springs Camp. A car shuttle returned the hikers to the top (at the Palomar parking area) approximately 12 hours after the start of the expedition.
The first few miles of the hike led through Upper French Valley, a scenic meadow ringed with cedar and pine, and green with lush spring grasses. A stream runs through the valley, and is dammed up in several places to form small lakes and ponds. Deer were spotted, and cat tracks noted. Two large and noisy rattlers were seen on the latter portion of the hike.
Morgan Hill was reached with ease, but not without some difficulty in convincing all of the veteran hikers that the group had attained the true summit. The discovery of a register and a nearby benchmark named "Morgan" was enough to satisfy most, but a splinter faction is reported to still be holding out for a point one mile further west, and may yet file a minority report.
The long haul to Eagle Crag was accomplished readily, and the hikers scrambled up the steep and brushy "firebreak" for a well earned lunch stop at 12:30 p.m. The view was spectacular, and included a steep dropoff some two feet to the west of the summit. After lunch the group started the long trek down to the highway. The trail passes by the historic Crossley Ranch, crossing several streams enroute. Devil's Hole, a mile long meadow, was emerald green with spring color.
At the conclusion of the trip, all were sure of having had a good workout, and a few blisters were evident, even with the best of boots.