Leaders: Lou Brecheen, Ron Jones
Hawaii in November? On top of 8000 foot Santa Rosa Mtn? Don't be silly, you say! But, that is what the 10 participants enjoyed on Saturday evening. We met at the Backwoods Inn at the intersection of Hwys 371 & 74 at 9:00am and drove a mile and a half East to where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Hwy 74 and parked all our cars in the large gravel parking area. We crossed the road and hiked up the PCT to a shallow saddle, then on around the mountain, still on the PCT until we could see Lookout Mtn #1. At this point there is a firebreak trail marked by a 6-rock cairn, leading up toward the peak. We followed this fine route right to the peak and signed in. The hike back to the cars followed the same route.
After driving 3 or 4 miles further east, we took the signed Santa Rosa Mtn road ten rocky, bumpy miles to the cabin right on top of the mountain. Everyone enjoyed the painted messages left by "Desert Steve" Ragsdale on the fire-damaged portions of several old Incense Cedars warning all to be careful with fire. Following a brief lunch, topped off with a couple of MaiTais, we went for a walk, heading South along the good gravel road. After about 2 miles of pleasant hiking, we came to a bar gate across the road, but there were no signs, so we went around the gate and up the very steep, washed-out road to some sort of complex microwave installation sitting on top of the very prominent peak. As we stood on the top-most rocks, gazing out toward Rabbit & Villager, and back towards Santa Rosa Mtn, someone said, "Why, this must be Toro Peak!" Someone else said, "But, we are not supposed to climb TORO anymore, are we?" We all agreed that we should not climb Toro Peak, so we got down from there quickly, even though there was no one guarding, and no "no trespassing" signs in evidence. The two-mile hike back to Santa Rosa Mtn was most pleasant for the several who did it - Vic Henney, Sue Wyman, Lou Brecheen, Ron Jones and Allen Williams.
It was about 4:30pm when we reached our camp on the Santa Rosa summit and found that those who had remained for other hikes and other activities (Leora Jones, Jeanne Williams, Charlotte Feitshan, Sandy Hatz & Rodger Maxwell) had been busy setting tables, putting out glasses, bottles, rare Polynesian foods and gathering firewood. We wasted no time in heating up the dishes requiring such and "digging in" to those dishes served cold. More Mai-Tais, Hawaiian lagers, wines from the big island a couple thousand miles east of Hawaii, Hawaiian meat-loaf, rice-ham dish, chunk pineapple marinated in a mixture of brandy, triple sec, etc, fruit salad, Polynesian stew (pineapple added) were served and consumed with gusto. This was followed by two hours of singing campfire songs accompanied by guitars in the virtuoso hands of Sue Wyman, Leora Jones and Rodger Maxwell. The nearly-full moon was high in the sky when the assemblage adjourned to various sleeping sites. Some even set up cots in the large, clean, concrete-floored cabin.
A leisurely arising, followed by an unhurried breakfast was enjoyed on Sunday morn. We left at 9:00. Five or six miles further East along Hwy 74 brought us to the Pinyon Flats road, leading northerly. We took it down to Jereboa and turned East on it to the very end at a sandy turnaround. There are several use-trails leading to the huge gully in the center of the steep ridge, through lots of catclaw, cactus and sagebrush. The ducked route leads up the gully, keeping to the left side, all the way to the top of the ridge. Ducks also lead SE a short distance (1/4 mi.) to the prominent rockpile with the large, old, dead tree wired to the top. All made Asbestos. All enjoyed the desert surroundings, the hike back to the cars and the cold beer waiting there. My thanks to Ron for his more-than-able assistand especially to all the participants - for they all truly did participate.