Leaders: Leora & Ron Jones
43 eager hikers met in Joshua Tree National Monument at Sheep Pass Campground. We had group campgrounds #1, 2 & 5 reserved with room for 27 cars and we came close to capacity. The weather was cool and the vistas clear and long. After breakfast and introductions, we carpooled to the trail head for Ryan Mtn.
The hike up Ryan Mtn was wonderful. The distant rocks were peaking in and out of the sun and displayed a marvelous show of light. 46 minutes later we all were on top celebrating Leora's 100th peak. Photos, champagne and toasts were in order. No register was to be found on top. After the appropriate celebrations, we returned to the cars in 40 minutes. At this point people broke off into several groups. About 1/2 the group went on to do Lost Horse Mtn and Inspiration Mtn. Others left to practice some rock climbing, others climbed Pinto on the DPS list, and a handful returned to camp prepare for the grande celebration.
Near 3:30pm, most people had returned to camp. We proceeded to dunk for apples with most people "enjoying" a thorough washing of their faces in the bucket. The technique that works best year after year is to pin it to the bottom as quickly as possible. Jon Sheldon as well as many others successfully retrieved a juicy red apple. Everyone participated in carving jack-o-lanterns. We had everything from a 4" backpackers pumpkin to a 20# pirate. "Manson Mamedalin" and "the pirate" were close runners-up but "Mr. Bill" took the prize for originality. Costumes began to appear one by one as well. There were two cats, two devils, a mouse, a psychedelic woman, two pioneer women, Mr. & Mrs. Claus, the Miller Man and several hikers. The Mexican potluck brought out more good food than one could consume. Everything from a garbage bag salad to chicken fajitas and more.
The sunset was spectacular. The wind was kicking up and clothing layers were getting thicker. It appeared as though a storm was on its way. With more spirits and a campfire to warm us, jokes, especially blonde jokes, became the topic of conversation. Soon thereafter, Sue Wyman serenaded many voices with her guitar. The hours passed and we enjoyed singing into the night. Jay Holshue and Sue Leverton arrived late after attending a desert work party in Ridgecrest to join in the festivities. By 10:30 we all worked our way to a warm bed just in time before the sprinkles started and slowly turned into a good rain. At 2am we still had pumpkins burning bright lighting up the rocks and crevasses in the campground during the rain.
After a carcamp breakfast (and recovering from the night before), 28 caravanned to Quail Springs trail head. Minor White led the way to Samuelson Rocks stopping on the way to enlighten us on the sex life of a Joshua Tree. It is a pleasant walk along the main wash parallelling the highway with a gorgeous view of newly snow-covered San Gorgonio. Shortly more than an hour later, we were exploring the old homestead of John F. Samuelson, an immigrant from Denmark. He had inscribed many political/philosophical sayings in the surrounding rocks including the following: "Religion is a code of morralls for us to live by. No more, hell is here on this earth no other plase. Moast of it we make ourself as to haven find it in a life time nothing proven after death by preast or scientist? The milk of human kindness ain't got thick cream on it for all of us, ask Hoover. Are you the fellow Mr. Mellon that grabed all our dough. Ain't you better up and tell us where in hell did it go?" ..."God made man but Henry Ford put wheels under em." And there are others for you to see when you visit this historic area. Samuelson lived there with his wife. He profitably mined in the area, but was discovered to not be an American citizen and was forced to give up his claim and homestead. He sold out to a man named Hedington but before the deal was consummated his house was burned to the ground. He left his desert home in 1928. The many artifacts that remain today include his old box springs, horse corral, pipes, wire and lots of tin cans.
On our return we detoured to see the old ranch well, still working, that supplied water for the cattle grazing in the area way back when. The air was brisk, crisp and clean and we returned to our cars shortly after noon.
Thanks to all who helped make Leora's 100 peak emblem a most memorable event: in addition to those listed above, Lou Brecheen, Ron Grau, Evelyn Chadwell, Ron O'Brien, Vic Henney, Walia Ringeler, Bruce & Theresa Turner, Sue & Don Gunn, Tom, Karen & Jon Ferguson, Ariel Forbes, David Reneric, Bob & Anne Wright, Jan Brahms, Janet and Erv Bartel, Sally Wagner, Larry Urish, Benjy Sheldon (I think his 36th peak), Ruth Feldon, Norma Newman, Charles Hepperle, Phil Rinehart, Martin Tatz, Tom Armbruster, Carrie Risdon, Carol Campbell, Jon & Betsy Lutz, Igor, Suzanne & Tanya Mamedalin.