Leaders: Alan Coles, Frank Goodykoontz
This trip was originally scheduled for the weekend of Feb 17-18 but had to be postponed due to a heavy storm and snow at the 4000' level. Ironically, I had scheduled the same trip a few years earlier and the same thing happened. For a while it looked like another storm would arrive at the time of the rescheduled trip but this time it dissipated before causing us any more problems.
Joe Young told me about the access problems on the south side. Apparently the easement used by the now defunct California Riding and Hiking Trail is being shut off (if someone has time, they might check with the BLM in Riverside about the legal access to this area). So I asked and received permission to pass through the Powers ranch and climb these peaks using the standard northern route.
Even with the postponement, a fairly large group of 15 met at the intersection of Cary Rd and Hwy 371 near Anza. We drove through the Cahuilla Indian Reservation to the Powers Ranch and started hiking around 8:30 am. The first thing I noticed was a new all season road built at the southern end of the ranch. We crossed it and more or less followed the ducked route to Beauty reaching it by 11. It was a windy day with clouds blowing over and around the peaks but it never threatened to rain. It was cold on the peaks but once out of the wind it was warm enough for shorts. Next came Iron Springs and since Frank had told me that the route listed in the peak guide was "cleared out", I decided to try it instead of the other route which has almost no brush and is more direct. As promised, it was cleared out. Red shanks cut to the very bottom, large amputated manzanitas and other mutilated plants made it easy to reach the peak on this route although I will never understand why this route was chosen (see my accompanying editorial). We returned to the cars around 4:30.
Frank and I decided to see where that new road went so we drove back on it heading in a generally eastward direction. Just as I thought, a new subdivision of 20+ acre "ranchitos" called "Silver Saddle" was being developed. The price was around $4500 to $5500 per acre which means around $100,000 per lot (pretty high). The sign near the incomplete gate advertises a "private gated community". I'm not sure if the land we pass through to do these peaks is part of the development or not (there were no signs there). It looks like it might be possible to go west on this road to Hwy 371 and come out near L. Riverside. Someday, it seems that we will be starting all our peaks along subdivisions.
We went over to Oak Grove and camped there. Some of us went over to nearby Maggie's for dinner. I had the fried chicken and wouldn't recommend it. Janet had the liver and onions and wouldn't recommend it. Georgina Burns had the Hungarian Goulash and definitely would not recommend it while everyone else had the spaghetti dinner and all wouldn't recommend it.
Only 7 showed up at the Anza Borrego State Park Boundary on county road S22 at 8:00, the scheduled meeting point for San Ysidro. We waited the standard 10 minutes for any others but since none came we took off on a very windy and partly cloudy day through the state park to do this peak. I chose this route since I did not have permission to pass through the private land that is listed as the primary route in the peak guide. After reaching the summit of bump 5326', we saw 3 people following us and decided to wait for them since this route is a difficult navigational exercise. They turned out to be Mike Fredette, Georgina and Molly Beathe. Apparently, they had either misunderstood or didn't have the trip write-up which gave the time and meeting point for the hike. All 3 also thought that bump 5326' was the peak and were quite disappointed to know we weren't half way yet. A difference of views between Frank and Georgina resulted in her turning back while everyone else continued on for the summit. I wasn't as successful as previous trips in circumventing brush and rocks which slowed us down a bit but we eventually reached the summit by noon. It was cold and windy so nobody wanted to stay long. Frank and Molly hadn't arrived yet but we decided to turn back anyway. I asked Frank when we met him on the way down to take Molly back through the private land since this was much easier and she was having problems on the rock.
The trip back went very smoothly and we were back by 2. A short while later Frank and Molly arrived and had no problems in getting down.
Participants: Martin Feather, Bill Lien, David Jensen, Evan Samuels, George and Ann Covalieri, Georgina Burns, Jim Fujimoto, Jim Peterson, Barbara Cohen, Molly Beathe and Mike Fredette. Thanks to Frank for co-leading.