Leaders: Bobcat Thompson, Stag Brown
Our 18th Annual mid-winter ascent of "Sister Elsie," and my 38th ascent, began at 7 am with 10 participants having breakfast at Lloyd's of La Cañada. 8 am at the La Cañada rideshare point found 29 eager hikers gathered, ready to work off some "holiday cheer." Veterans like Frank Goodykoontz, Brent Washburne, Jim Fleming (celebrating his Birthday weekend), Southern Courtney, Joe Young and Patty Kline joined Bobcat and Stag for the 5 mile shuttle to the start of the hike at the top of Haines Canyon Road in Tujunga.
We started hiking up the horse trail about 150 yards below the top of Haines Cyn Rd about 8:45 am, a beautiful trail which intersects the main Mt Lukens Road in about 2 miles. We had clipped the trail on Jan 1, 1997, but some new trees had blown down in the January 6 windstorm, so Jim and Bobcat clipped and sawed thru some of them and continued up the Sister Elsie trail with Stag motivating the troops in the rear. This was our 139th hike led together for the Sierra Club since we first led on Mt Lukens together 20 years ago. Thanks, Stag, for 2 decades of great hiking fun!
At exactly high noon we hiked above the cloud layer to arrive at the top of Mt Lukens, with vistas extending to Baldy in the East. The seas of cotton candy below us prevented us from seeing the city below from the highest point in the City of L. A. -- 5074.
After everyone had arrived on top, Bobcat led a moment of silence and remembrances for Bill T. Russell, who passed away 3 days earlier. Mt Lukens was Bill's List finish peak 20 years ago. Joe, Stag, Bobcat and Jim each said something about Bill T's accomplishments with the Sierra Club over the past quarter century. He will be greatly missed.
After an hour enjoying Sister Elsie's sunny summit (2 days later it snowed here), we led the troops down the remains of the Haines Cyn Trail, very spotty and rough in places, and down the Lukens Road, passing the junction with the new Rim of the Valley Trail which starts out in Deukmejian Wilderness Park in La Crescenta - another trail to explore. Back down the lower Haines Cyn trail, avoiding most of the poison oak, we arrived back at the cars by 3:45 pm. 14 hardy survivors re-convened at Pepe's of La Cañada for some post-hike revelry.
Same time next year!