Leaders: Richard Schamberg, Southern Courtney
Because of the rain and snow in the mountains Friday, Richard and I got many calls asking if our hike was go. Our answer was yes! As luck would have it, we were right. Saturday morning was great. What wonderful scenes we had of the higher San Gabriels all sugared with snow - a confection for the eyes. First, South Hawkins standing out as we drove to the trailhead, later powerful views of all four snow-glinted Hawkins peaks and beyond the wintered Baldy, Dawson, and Pine. What a great morning for our group of eleven fortunate hikers.
The three miles, on the well maintained Bear Creek Trail to Smith Saddle was an easy jaunt for most of our hikers. Only our beginner, Marsha, found the altitude a somewhat difficult new experience. At the saddle, we offered the choice of staying there or doing, in John Robinson's words "the last 800' rise ... a steep ridge scramble, partly through brush," to the summit. All selected to go, and all made it. This was Marsha's first peak! She received our congratulations.
As we devoured lunch and views, the weather began to slowly cloud and cool. This only added an extra dimension to our delightful late fall outing. For me, the return was over all too soon. Marsha, on the other hand, was happy to get off her feet, but remained enthusiastic about having done the ridge and bagging her peak - number 1!