Leaders: David Eisenberg, David Jensen
After about $10 worth of telephone calls to the ranger station in Ojai, I had thought we had permission to do Chief and Hines as drive ups along the Nordhoff Ridge Road, as well as permission to climb Hildreth, Old Man, and Monte Arido from Potrero Seco Road. However, after all of the problems and conflicting stories, it came as no surprise to find that they would not issue the Nordhoff Ridge permit. At that point, I had enough and decided to substitute Reyes and Haddock. The rangers stated that they never issue a group permit to do either of these roads and that they were making a special exception to their policy to allow our group to get even the one. This certainly should be investigated as I have heard it both ways depending on who I talk with and when I called.
We met at the Rose Valley Campground at 6:00 am and at the Pine Mountain Summit at 6:30 am on Saturday. We had 5 vehicles designated to drive and the participants quickly found space for the ride in. David Jensen was looking forward to trying his new Ford Explorer on the dirt roads. By 7:40, we were ready to begin the roller coaster hike to Hildreth. There is 5000' of gain rt and the peak is the same elevation as the trailhead! Each time we got to the top of a rise, we found ourselves needing to descend once more. The only thing which kept us going was the sworn statement of Evan Samuels (who had done the peak both ways) that this route was actually the easier of the two, the spectacular views, and the abundant wildflowers. However, Roy Stewart had done this same route when it was still open for driving and tantalized us with how easy it was then. We were able to see the Big 3 & 4, Caliente, Pinos, Reyes, Haddock, Chief, Hines, Topatopa, Cobblestone, and the Channel Islands. Fred Johnson told me we walked through phlox, red & blue penstemon, bright yellow tree poppy, nightshade, linanthus, popcorn flower, phacelia, fiddleneck, and around a few yucca coming into bloom.
We enjoyed a nice lunch on the summit and returned by the same route - which now seemed much more difficult.
Bob Sumner was only with us for Saturday, but the rest of us headed for the Cherry Creek Campground near the Ortega trailhead. Some dayhikers left us a burning campfire (using the wood we left there that morning). In spite of the overcrowding in the other campgrounds, our group was the only one using this camp. We had a great happy hour topped by the hot cheese nachos prepared by Chuck Sale and Maggie Singleton.
Sunday morning, we were own by one more as Bruce Peterson left for home. Monte Arido was quite easy by this route, taking less than 1/2 hour to do. Then came the 1000' drop to the Old Man saddle. We were fortunate that the brush was relatively clear on this route. Paula Peterson celebrated her 200th peak on this summit! We carried up the treats from the previous night to help her celebrate. We all tried without success to convince Leslie Metcalfe that she also had 100 peaks but she didn't want to count Sewart Peak even though we all told her that she had to cross it on the way to do Cobblestone and White.
We were back to the highway by 3:00. At that point, only the 11 tigers wanted to climb Reyes and Haddock. Dave Jensen took the lead as Jennifer Lambelet, Pete Doggett, Paula Peterson, Roy (I never sit out a peak) Stewart, Evan Samuels, Barbara Pedersen, Chuck Sales, Maggie Singleton, Dorothy Pallas and I made quick work of the eight miles and returned to the cars with plenty of daylight to spare.
Participants not mentioned above are: Laura Webb, Georgina Burns, Erich and Luella Fickle, and Barbara Reber. Thanks to all for a great weekend!