Leaders: George Ruptier, Marvin Siddel
The early hour on Saturday morning brought 25 robust mountaineers to the Ice House Canyon parking lot for the HPS Mystery Hike. In anticipation of seeing early fall colors in the canyon, we began the climb to Ice House Saddle. After a momentary stop at refreshing Columbine Spring, the group continued their final push to the saddle. As the rear guard caught up with the main party, we started the traverse by trail to the Big-Horn-Cucamonga Saddle. The trail suddenly changed directions - from level to straight up the shoulder of Cucamonga Peak. Reaching the summit was certainly a welcome reward after the long, steep trail.
Lunch was first order of business! A noon feast was topped by the celebration Joyce Van Allen's birthday. Her husband, Bob, pulled a beautiful layer cake from his summit pack just as a magician pulls a rabbit from his hat. Cake and chocolate covered cherries turned out to be the perfect dessert at our nearly 9,000 foot restaurant. The long lunch hour made it somewhat difficult for the "hardy" and "full" peak-baggers to begin the short jaunt to Etiwanda Peak. Our stay on the summit was short as the hour was late.
During the descent, we made several short stops, one of which was at well-known Columbine Spring. Indeed, the beautiful canyon revealed the beginning of fall in a display of varied colors. Everyone reached the cars by 4:30 p.m. after a long, but enjoyable day.