Leader: Don McLellan, Sr.
Asst.: Don McLellan, Jr.
The leader's enthusiasm was not unbounded at the prospect of driving 200 miles round trip on the Golden State Freeway to lead a short hike during a midsummer heat wave. Furthermore, he felt the distance, the heat, and the fact that the Local Hikes Section had done the same hike two weeks before would keep attendance low. However, pleasant surprises were in store.
First was the attendance - come they did. The forty-five who signed in, in addition to the leaders, included many not usually seen on 100-Peaks hikes. We drove the mile to Pinos, assembled there, and at 9:55 started for Sawmill, behind Don Jr. This involved a descent of 500 feet to a saddle and then a gradual climb of 400 feet along the ridge to Sawmill, a distance of two miles, which the last hiker reached at 10:50 after one turned back.
The second surprise was the moderate temperature. At the start, the temperature was pleasant and later a cloud cover kept it that way. In addition, a profusion of blooming flowers created very pleasant hiking conditions.
Four dropped out at Sawmill. The rest continued on the one mile slow descent, then 250 foot climb to Grouse, our scheduled destination, which all reached by 11:30. We ate lunch on Grouse.
Some wanted to continue further along the trail to Cerro Noroeste. Tom Wade agreed to lead those who wanted to continue while the leader decided he would return with the main group. However, when the Cerro Noroeste party departed, the leader received another major surprise when he realized that all except eight were heading for that peak. He quickly changed plans and ran after his departing, high spirited "followers" leaving Don Jr. and Dick McLellan to lead the eight back -- which they did without mishap.
The hike to Cerro Noroeste was an additional 2 1/2 miles. The good trail descends 1,000 feet to a saddle then rises 650 feet. Tom led ably and everyone reached the summit by 1:15, but don't tell them Cerro Noroeste is considered a drive-up!
A few remained behind at the top to wait for their drivers to pick them up later. The others started back about 1:45 behind the leader, who attempted to regain some lost dignity by leading again. The last group back to Pinos included five-year-old Chuck Hines. He looked very weary, but gamely trudged along, sinking to the trail occasionally, helped by the verbal encouragement of accompanying adults. He reached the cars at 4:40 and looked ready for a long nap. Looks as if he'll have his 200 peak bar by the time he can join the Club. For us senior citizens it was a very enjoyable summer day.