Leaders: Jerry and Nancy Keating
Editor's note. This write-up was actually prepared in the form of a letter to Luella Fickle dated February 27. Luella forwarded the letter to me with her write-up of Iron Springs and Beauty.
Below is a capsule of Sundays hike, but first here are a few notes with regard to other aspects of the trip.
First, the Dripping Springs campground was uncrowded Saturday night, as it was Friday night. Second, we waited briefly at 7:30 a. m. Sunday at the campground entrance to be sure no one arrived for a Sunday-only experience. Third, Nancy served as the coleader Sunday, ensuring that we were properly organized. She is M rated. Fourth, after climbing Combs Sunday morning, the four participants proceeded to the Los Coyotes Reservation toll house in an attempt to drive up Hot Springs Mtn. The lady at the toll house told us that, at this time of year (i. e., winter) no one is allowed to enter the area after 1 p.m. on Sundays and that all visitors have to be out by 3 p.m. She said that during the winter it's better to enter on Saturday, when the only exit time enforced is 3 p.m. Sunday. The current fee for day use, by the way, is $10 per vehicle. Fifth, shortly after turning back from the toll house, Nancy discovered a tick embedded in her neck. We carefully removed it with tweezers. Given the minimal contact we had with brush on Combs, it's possible the tick landed in her hair or bandanna during the descent from Iron Springs/Beauty on Saturday and didn't reach her flesh until Sunday. You'll recall ticks were discovered several times Saturday and removed from participants' clothing. On Sunday, we checked for ticks upon returning to the car but discovered none. In any event, Nancy's neck seems OK today.
On Sunday, four participants remained for the climb of Combs (6193). Using the Chihauhau Valley approach, they found the gate open on the dirt road section and started the hike from where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses. They hiked northward on the PCT to the saddle at 5600', then followed the use trail through the brush to the peak. The use trail was in good condition, allowing speedy passage. A new register booklet and container were left on the summit.
My thanks to you for a fine lead Saturday. Also Erich deserves praise for a super lopper job, especially on Iron Springs.