Leaders: David Eisenberg, Frank Goodykoontz, George Schroedter
Despite bad weather in L.A. this weekend, this outing turned out great. The only bad note was the fact that David's injured knee allowed him to do only the first peak on Saturday.
We met at 8 AM Saturday at Highway 14 and Lonetree Canyon Road and then drove up to the campground where we would spend the next two nights. Soon we all climbed in the 4WD trucks and rode up to the trailhead to Chuckwalla. (Actually, David led us up past the usual starting point, which made the hike easier for him.) It was quite cold and windy, but we had bright sunshine. This peak was just a light warm-up and was completed in short order. We returned to the campground, had lunch, and then drove around and up Jawbone Canyon Road to the parking for Cross. David went about a mile and a half with us before his knee forced him to turn back. It was more a case of prudence than pain. Frank took over and led us up the scree slope and then over to the top of Cross Mtn. Because of recent rains, the slope gave fairly good footing, so our climb was not as loose and slippery as it usually is. Still, this was the most difficult climb of the weekend.
Back at the campground that evening we enjoyed the best pot-luck meal this hiker has had on any of our outings. Many thanks to all, but particular thanks to Walia Ringeler who brought a wonderful Indian dish called Dall and a lot of other goodies.
Sunday morning we again drove up Jawbone Canyon to the trailheads to Butterbredt and Mayan. Mayan turned out to be a spacial hike, for it was the 200th peak for Walia. (Mayan is also a fairly tough climb!) On top we enjoyed 2 bottles of sparkling cider and snacks. Then, back down at our vehicles, Walia served us all a special celebration lunch. (This gal can ride with me anytime!)
The next peak scheduled was Skinner. Frank was a little worried that we might have to hike back down in the dark, but nearly all of us opted to continue. The exception was Don Borad who needed to get home.
The climb up to Skinner on the PCT from the south is fairly long but is gently graded. Where the trail starts to descend on the north-east side of the peak, Frank led us up the slope (through the snow) to the peak - a distance of about 1/3 mile. We got to the peak just before 5 PM. It was cold and getting dark, so we signed the register, had a couple of snacks and headed back. We would have had to hike back in the dark, but Frank knew a great sbort-cut down a scree slope. We got back to our vehicles just after 6. Just about the time we were packed up and ready to leave, it started to rain. We drove out east to Hwy 14 in the rain with no problem. Our original plans called for us to eat in Mojave that night, but we decided to have our meal back at the campground instead. The sky had cleared, but there was a very cold wind blowing - so cold that it took much longer than usual to heat our foot. I was miserably cold, so I couldn't really enjoy what Walia fixed that night.
This was a 3-day weekend, so we were able to enjoy a 3rd day of hiking. The morning was sunny and clear, but still very windy and cold. Black was a fairly long hike with pretty good elevation gain, but we made it back to our vehicles in time for lunch. Frank then led us over to the north trailhead to Red Mtn. This route was new to me. A bit longer, but definitely easier. It took us along the entire length of the ridge where we endured a very strong wind. This peak does reward hikers with a spectacular view on the top - unquestionably the best one of the whole weekend - so it was a great finish. Fortunately, the wind was not as strong when we hiked back over the ridge and down.
On the way home, the restaurant at Four Corners appeared to be quite crowded, so I continued on to Adelanto where Walia and I ate at the new casino. The food was good, plentiful and quite cheap.
The participants were: Roy Stewart, Don Borad, Phil Reher, Adrian Bartlow, Walia Ringeler, Joy McKenny (Monday only), and Matt McBride (Red Mtn only).