7:30 Saturday morning 7 of us met at the Bob's Big Boy in Hesperia on Main Street just west of I-15. After a good breakfast we drove up the Coxey Road to Little Pine Flat. The Mojave River was flowing under the Rock Springs Road, but fresh asphalt indicated that it had recently flowed over it. The Coxey road had several new foot deep gullies cutting across it, but 4WD was not needed.
The road from Little Pine Flat to Hawes Ranch was permanently closed a few years back as mitigation for the green sticker power bike trail that now ruins the Holcomb Creek Trail Camp and goes nearly over the top of Hawes.
We had planned to backpack into Barrel Springs and day hike Deer and Shay from there. But the snow level was down to 5900' and this San Diego Wilderness Basics Outing was not supposed to be a snow camp. Besides it was Paul DeKleemalker's first backpack trip. So we found a nice flat spot on the ridge 200 yards west of the Hawes Ranch site and leisurely set up camp there.
After lunch we followed a flagged route through the snow to the saddle west of Little Shay. From there our travel was fairly snow-free along the old ridge cat track to the base of Shay. The southeast ridge of Shay now has a broad firebreak up it to the southwest summit. From there a good cat track goes to the summit. Deep snow coverage on Butler and Crafts to the south and the San Gabriels west of Cajon Pass provided spectacular views.
For those looking for a pathfinder route up Shay, it appears that you could follow a cat track up the southeast ridge of 6592' to about the 6200' level. There another cat track leads around the east slope of Shay to the southeast ridge's firebreak.
From Shay we followed the cat trails south to Ingham and then northeast to Little Shay. Then we plunge-stepped down the north slope of Little Shay through 1 - 3 foot deep snow. Dirk Addis led us on a route that managed to avoid most of the scrub oaks as we dropped to the creek below Cup Spring. We were back in camp in time to set up for a great campfire/kitchen site before it got dark.
Sunday, we crossed the creek directly from the old Hawes Ranch campsite and went downstream about 50' to the cat track that leads up the ridge to Hawes Peak. This use trail is still in good condition. From the summit we dropped directly north down a snow-filled gully. This would be an excellent route for anyone trying to return to Little Pine Flat directly from the summit of Hawes. We turned west down an old jeep track south of Cox Creek to return to our camp and were out to the vehicles early in the afternoon.
On the way back to San Diego we took the University exit from the 60/I-215 west to Iowa Street for ARCO gas that was priced 15 to 20 cents lower than anything in San Diego County. Just west of Iowa Street is a Mexican restaurant called Joe Aguilair's Templo Del Sol. We enjoyed excellent food there for very reasonable prices.
Other students on this trip were Mark Brown, Amber Hildreth, and Afra Roet.