Alan Coles, Martin Feather
This turned out to be a rather pleasant trip. There was some concern earlier in the month because Angeles Crest Hwy was still closed by snow! However, Caltrans was able to open the road a few weeks before the outing.
We had a rather large contingent of 21 meet in La Cañada at 7 am. We drove up to Islip Saddle and left a few cars there, then consolidated into the remaining ones for the drive up to Dawson Saddle where the hike began around 8:30. The group moved well up this well built trail which we followed to the ridge below Throop Pk. From there we took the old, steep trail directly to the summit passing over several snow packs, some over 4 feet deep. In just under an hour we gained the summit and enjoyed the view on a clear sunny day.
After a reasonable rest, we descended the peak and took the PCT west through a forest of Jeffrey, Sugar, Lodgepole and ancient Limber Pines over to Hawkins Pk. We paused there for a few minutes while the leader carefully explained where Copter Ridge was located and what we had to after reaching it. Without hesitation the entire group marched on down the broad ridge which is nicely covered with Jeffrey Pines and White Fir trees. The unusually wet winter provided a much healthier canopy than has been seen in many years. We passed through deep green fields of lupines still blooming in midsummer. Finally the "summit" was reached around 11.
This point is located deep inside of the Sheep Mtn Wilderness between the tributaries of Iron Fork, itself a tributary of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. Access to this area from other directions is virtually impossible making it a fine habitat for Nelson Bighorn Sheep whose appearances are rare especially with large groups of people. We surveyed this impressive terrain and had lunch before returning back up the ridge.
It took a bit longer to get back up to Mt. Hawkins but everyone did well. A quick survey of this new addition to "The List" was taken and almost everyone agreed that it was "better than Ross". Also, several multiple list finishers indicated that they would likely be climbing it again.
This exuberant group, not being satisfied with 3 peaks, opted for Middle Hawkins as we continued westward on the PCT. Only 4 wise participants took a refreshing break in the pine knoll where the S. Hawkins Ridge Trail joins the PCT while the others raced on down and up to the summit where they were rewarded with a somewhat hazy view of Crystal Lake. After a short break the group reunited back at the trail junction and continued on down to Windy Gap.
It was 3 in the afternoon with about another hour back to the cars. Doing Mt. Islip would have added an extra hour so another vote was taken. Only 3 opted to do the peak and signed out while the leaders took the remainder of the group past busy Little Jimmy CG and on down to the cars.
Participants: Larry Hoak, Jack Knox, Greg Pihos, Don Tidwell, Southern Courtney, Elizabeth O'Keefe, Pamela Downing, Pete Doggett, Bob Emerick, Jorg Angehrn, Norma Newman, Erv Bartel, Janet Bartel, Robert Freed, Cristy Bird, Ron Zappen, Christey Schreiber, Matt McBride, Tai Lee. Thanks to Martin for co-leading.