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Frazier Mountain, Tecuya Mountain, Brush Mountain, San Emigdio Mountain, Cerro Noroeste, Grouse Mountain

9 July 2001

By: Karen Isaacson Leverich

Leaders: Byron Prinzmetal and Mars Bonfire

Four intrepid HPS SUVs, accompanied by various HPS members and hangers on, bravely bagged several Los Padres peaks yesterday. The cars did most of the work, the hikers were appparently either resting up from Sunday's strenuous expedition to Mt Pinos (and neighboring meadow) or perhaps saving their strength for tomorrow's assault on Ross Mountain. The timing of this trip was sheer genius (kudos to the leaders for their prescience!): last week's daily rains had pretty much tamed the dust, yet not left the roads a muddy mess. It would have been difficult to find better roads. Er, I take that back -- it's a nit to find better roads than these. But it would have been difficult to have found these particular roads in better condition.

Our first peak was Frazier Mountain. Several of us clambered up the lookout tower and admired the views.

The next peak was Tecuya, above Frazier Park. When Brian and I and Sandy Sperling were there on Saturday, we wimped out at a steep hill about a mile west of the peak, and walked the final bit of road. And in fact Brian and I wimped out again, but this time we didn't have to walk to get there -- Mars gave us a lift, and all the cars except our Cherokee bagged this peak. It was definitely a scramble for them. I believe Kent or Brian (or both) have pictures of these brave vehicles atop this challenging summit. Watch this space?

Onwards and westwards, we headed over Apache Saddle then up the road to Marion Campground, and up another snarky slope to visit Brush Mountain (which, unlike its name, isn't especially brushy). On our way out, we stopped and all looked yearningly towards Eagle Rest Peak. No eagles, not even any condors. It sure looks like one difficult to attain peak. The SUVs unanimously demurred from attempting it.

Thence, Byron's (I think Byron's) secret shortcut from Marion Campground to San Emigdio, and another reminder of why 4WD/AWD and high clearance were useful on this trip. Whose idea was it to run these roads straight up the side of a mountain? (Whose idea was it to take cars on these roads?) And then, get this, we had to get out of the cars and walk up a hill to make it to the peak. It did make a lovely spot for lunch, but the register (a few scraps of paper in a Coke can, signed only by Ron Zappen) was a bit of a let down. A new notebook was contributed, and Brian and I promised to head back up there soon with a more weatherproof container.

At this point, the truly challenging driving was over, so Brian and the Jeep took off to put his mother's birthday card in the mail, while the rest of us ascended Cerro Noroeste by the road. Pavement, imagine! Once there, we briefly debated hiking over to Grouse Mountain, but most were eager to be back in their cars and heading for home.

Brian and I hiked over and visited Grouse anyhow, getting mildly lost ("That looks like Sawmill, what's it doing there? what happened?") both coming and going. It was a lovely day. I think the Jeep is going to be disappointed tomorrow when it gets left behind while we tackle Burnham, Baden-Powell, and Ross. Maybe someone should put in a 4WD road? (No no no no NOOOO!!!! I don't mean it! Enough of this driving up stuff, I want to use my feet and go up a hill somewhere! <grin>)

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