Leaders: Frank Goodykoontz, George Schroedter
There were a lot of hikes going this weekend, so it was not surprising when only Southern Courtney joined the leaders for the first day of this trip. We started off for Little Cahuilla about 7:45 under a clear sky. Though a little cool, it was still shirt-sleeve weather. As I expected, the trail was a little overgrown - particularly the last mile. Unfortunately, I was the only one who had brought clippers. Leaders might make note of this.
By 10:15, we were on our way to Cahuilla along the fine trail, and made this peak in just 82 minutes.
Back at the trailhead at 1:15, we decided to substitute Santa Rosa for the scheduled hike to Cone Peak. While Santa Rosa is a drive up, it is 10.4 miles of pretty rough road. Even driving my 4WD Explorer, the trip took two hours. Passenger cars can make this road but they need to drive very slowly. On the way up we got a good view of Sheep and Martinez and had a fairly close up look at Toro from the top of Santa Rosa. We were a bit surprised by the number of vehicles we saw on this peak.
We were back at Hurkey Creek campground before 5 PM for hot showers and dinner. Early that evening Jim Kilberg and Darrell Lee arrived with lots of goodies from Trader Joe's.
At 7 Sunday AM we met at Morris Ranch Road & Hwy 74. There we were joined by Betty and Austin Stirratt, and Rose Stein.
The hike up to Rock Point was fairly easy and took just over 30 minutes to get up to the big rock. The hike up to Butterfly was another story. There are hundreds of ducks along the way and not all of them follow the best route. I got off my intended route twice leading the group up and got us into some difficult rocks. Coming down from Butterfly I asked Frank to lead and he took us back the route I wanted to take up. I'll do it right next time.
Also coming down, we had to pass some shooters. They were not doing the usual target practice, but instead were firing bullets like they were free. They also had at least one weapon (illegal) that was fully automatic. Worst was when a couple of bullets zinged over our heads as we continued past them on the road toward our vehicles.
Back down at the highway, Betty, Austin and Rose headed home. The rest of us went back to Hurkey Creek, picked up our gear and Frank's camper, and headed for Indian. Since we only had 5, we stored all my stuff in Frank's camper and then drove to Indian. The road wasn't in too bad of shape; certainly better than the road up to Santa Rosa. We all drove up the road to Ranger and walked the last half mile. It turned out that we could have driven all the way up to the peak, for the brush along the last stretch has been cut way back.
It was just after 3 PM when we headed for home. Sunday had been quite a bit cooler with a fair amount of wind. It was one of those days when I was too warm with my jacket on and too cool with it off. I should have simply brought a warm long-sleeved shirt.