LITTLE YOUNG LADY IN TENNIS SHOES MAKES 200
Leader: Les Stockton
Asst.: Ruth Smith
The week-end following the Memorial Holiday is always ideal for vacant campsites and this was no exception. Thirty-two people either camped at Big Pine Flat or appeared at 7:30 am for a week-end of San Bernardino Forest Peak-Bagging.We had been awakened by a chorus of distant and close coyote yips and howls, reminding us we were really in the wilderness.
While we were preparing to leave, Lu Petitjean let out a horrendous shriek when she checked her boots and found 2 left shoes. It seems her daughter has the same kind of boot and husband Bernie put two left boots in the car instead of the standard arrangement. As Lu was climbing her 200th peak on this trip, postponement was out of the question so the little young lady climbed in her tennis shoes (and very well, I might add, despite the leaders inclination to go direct, avoiding trails). Sam Fink was diagramming on the ground the route he had originally climbed Deer Mountain when the entire earth began to tremble. You may remember the earthquake on this date, so lots of things were happening before we ever started our trek.
We leisurely climbed to the Little Shay saddle via excellent trail and proceeded up the short ridge to the summit of Little Shay. Champagne and the appropriate libations heralded the 200th peak for Tennis Shoe Lu. Back to the saddle with most of the group climbing Ingham on the way. This is a side trip and is best climbed from half way down the Little Shay ridge. 12 stalwarts split out under the leadership of Sam Fink and proceeded down the trail to Deer Mt. The rest of the group bombed up Shay Mt. and descended the long ridge intercepting the Deer Mt. group 400' below the 5800' intermediate summit.
Deer Mt. is not usually climbed by anyone and is generally missed because it is not prominent and is rather difficult to find. Half the group experimented with the trail route and had to climb directly back onto the 5800' highpoint. Believe me, there is no short cut. Contouring on trail does not shorten this hike - climb the primary ridge with the gains and losses until the summit of Deer is reached. We ate leisurely lunch on the warm no-shade peak while consuming much of our water and allowing the late arrivals time to recuperate.
The trip back was hot and waterless for many. We reached the cars about 2:30pm and after the consumption of cooling beverages, a hasty trip to Hawes Mt. was organized. 11 people, including Sam Fink (who had climbed it the night before for exercise), attained the windy summit in short order, climbing direct from the cars and descending via the firebreak. The one-dayers headed for home, climbing Rattlesnake enroute and the others returned to the campground for the morrow's effort. Sam Fink had forgotten his ice axe near Deer Mt. so he awakened at 1:00 am, retraced his steps, and was back in time to accomplish the Sunday climb. There aren't many like Sam! We picked up 4 more early or lost souls during the trip to Deer so conquering the killer peak was the soul searing experience of 36 souls (plus the two soles of Tennis Shoe Lu!)
"A special thank-you to my husband for his efforts toward making my 200th Peak such a rewarding accomplishment. It was my first (and last) hike in tennis shoes and I owe this marvelous experience all to him. Thank you, honey." -- Your Foot-Weary Wife, LU (TENNY)