Leaders: Frank Goodykoontz, Patty Kline
11 people assembled at 7:30am, 14 miles north of Mojave at Lonetree Canyon Rd. Frank Goodykoontz suggested that we do a car shuttle, taking several cars in on Jawbone Canyon Rd., as far as the locked gate. This allowed us to do Chuckwalla and then Cross one way, thereby saving a lot of hiking time.
While the car shuttle people were busy, we drove up Lonetree Canyon Rd. to the area between the white L.A. aqueduct and the black L.A. aqueduct pipes where we parked some cars to reserve our camping spot. This was amidst spent bullets and broken glass. These were the only trees for miles so the spot seemed worthwhile.
When the car shuttle people returned and met us at the "campsite", we left as many cars behind as possible to save our camping spot. We used a few high clearance vehicles to proceed to the roadhead. 4WD wasn't a requirement.
Just as we were starting our hike after parking at the roadhead for Chuckwalla, Glen Johnson happened along to do these solo. Like all good HPS'ers he signed in a joined us for the day.
We had lunch on Chuckwalla (5029') about noonish and somebody made the comment that the plastic orange-pink flag on the top looked like someone's underwear. Cross (5203') was as majestic as Chuckwalla wasn't. The approach was beautiful across a lightly wooded valley with multi-colored rock cliffs as a backdrop. The fun part was running down the very long scree slope off of Cross. Then there was the return on the dirt road to the locked gate where the cars awaited us. We did 10 miles and 3,000 feet of gain Saturday.
We got back to our campsite about 4pm and some people were driven back to the Chuckwalla roadhead to get their vehicles. The wind had picked up to an intolerable level so we sat in Betty and Austin Stirratts' small camper (they didn't bring the new big one) and started to drink our beer. The wind made the camper feel like a boat that was rocking at sea. When the rest of the people came back we crammed them in on the double bed too. Bob Hartunian sat in a chair in the only floor space not taken up by the double bed sharpening his ice axes for private lessons in ice axe arrest the next day on the snow which would fall during the night. Austin was asleep and Betty was showing us the only wedding picture taken at their wedding, remarking that the honeymoon would never end. Asher Waxman stayed for a while telling us about the Desert Protection Act. It is desperately needed after seeing devastated areas like this campground. Joe Douglas and Kay Machen had their own red VW camper, but also squeezed in. Ray Wolfe was trying to drive his Mercedes 450SL to a non-windy area and the whole car finally blew in through the back door of the Stirratts' camper. Frank Goodykoontz left his penthouse van to socialize and joke with us for awhile showing us his new bionic mail order knees from REI. Patty Kline arranged for the Stirratts' camper plus Ray's Mercedes to be put in a super big hot air balloon basket and we were suddenly transported to the top of Mayan Peak (6108') for Ray's 100th peak celebration. The champagne was great. Was this fiction or just an extra good party with the Stirratts in their camper? Thank you Betty and Austin. Don't believe a word of it.
It was obvious that it snowed the night before when we woke up on Sunday morning. Sunday was an easy day. After going back up to Jawbone Canyon and turning north we parked on a pass now covered with snow to do Butterbredt (5997'). Then we drove farther north for Mayan (6108') and Ray's 100th Peak Celebration. Wait a minute. We did that yesterday in a hot air balloon. The mileage for Sunday was 4 1/2 miles and 3,000 feet of gain minus the balloon trip.
Trip participants not already mentioned were Barbara Cohen, Mike Fredette, Pete Doggett and Leslie Metcalfe. A special thanks to everyone for making this a very nice weekend.