Indianhead, Rosa Point
By: Scott Jamison, Julie Rush
I woke up Saturday morning about 5:45 with several pounds of Anza Borrego dust in my ears and eyes and Sadie, my Pomeranian, licking some of it off my face. It was raining in LA, but blowing out here. Pete Dogget was telling Julie Rush that the hike we were doing today was the "Rosa Lopez" hike, in honor of OJ's star witness.
We were supposed to meet at 6:30 at the Rosa trailhead for the long (12 mi rt, 4800' gain) hike, and we had a couple of dogs to feed and people to sign in. Edna Erspamer and Karen Leonard rolled in after a night in Borego Springs. Judy Ware was crawling out of her Toyota wagon. Rich Gnagy and Pete Yamagata had called me Friday from Mojave on their ride in from Sacramento, saying it was "blustery in Mojave" (when in the hell isn't it blustery in Mojave?), and was the trip still on? They were there this morning. Bill (many times, but never from here!) Banks was ready way before 6:30. I noticed Brian Smith's Honda parked on the far side of the road, so I knew we were all here.
We ate breakfast, packed up, moved some cars off the road, and signed in. It was 6:30. No Brian! He wasn't on a split break, he was still asleep! We got him up and started hiking toward Rosa Lopez Point at 6:45.
Bill suggested the ridge across Palo Verde Canyon, Pete liked the closest ridge to the cars, but we managed to stick to the DPS route that Julie and I intended to follow. We hiked thru dozens of desert lilies, just blooming, over to the wash and up 11/2 miles to the prominent ducked exit up on the easiest ramp to the west ridge. The barrel cactus were just blooming also, and all the desert plants were fat and happy. Ruskie (Julie's dog) and Sadie kept to the faint trail thru the Teddy Bear Cholla, so we had very few spine removals for the day.
We took the "A" route down into the canyon from the high point on the ridge, and followed the wash again thru several good sized pools of water.(The dogs loved it-Julie and ! thought of the extra quarts we were carrying!) A small dead forest of trees sidelined us up out of the canyon to the far ridge, and we sidehilled across some hills to reach the saddle in the guide. Judy took a slide on this traverse, but managed to stop before sailing back into the canyon, and she was ok. (Don't like to fill out accident reports!)
The ridge, though very windy, worked well, and the sweep reached the peak by 12: 10. Good views of the clouds over Indianhead that would douse us that night.
We took the "B" route down the ridge to the canyon, where we eventually reconnected the group and took a Bill Banks "C" route directly across the wash and over the ridge to the gray saddle mentioned in the guide. We regained the ridge and took it all the way back to the mouth of the Palo Verde Canyon. Betsy Horgan met us at the cars at around 4:30. Several members of the group left then. (Smart!)
We tried to find a spot out of the wind on the Thimble Jeep trail for happy hour, but eventually settled on a sheltered spot off S22 just 7 miles from the traffic circle in Borrego Springs. Most of us ate in Borrego Springs, then returned to camp, pitching some tents because it looked like we needed them! A few of us returned to The Circle that night to test our skill at pool. (Watch out for Pete Yamagata--he's a sleeper!) A tricky turn near camp had Brian and I convinced that aliens had stolen our camp until we tried a third time to return to it that night.
The rain started about 2 AM, and didn't stop until Monday morning. We were going to hike, but voted for breakfast in town. A group of bicyclists were there. I asked them where they had started and where they were going. The answer was San Diego. It was going to take about 18 months to "cycle around the world" They had been gone 4 days. We ate, and were going to hike, but decided on the Visitor's Center instead. We stayed a long time. We wanted to hike ('cause the sun came out for 2 minutes), but we decided no one wanted to slip on wet rocks into "more needle-tipped agave per square foot than most any other peak" in the DPS Guide. We all pretty much meandered home. Indianhead is probably still there. Thanks to Julie for all the help assisting.
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