By: John McCully
Fourteen people appeared for the 5:30 start at the Desert Museum this year. I handed out a map and trail sheet similar to what appears elsewhere in this newsletter for the folks that might have an interest in signing out and going for the peak. Within a couple of hours Vic Henney, Sue Wyman and John Carna had taken advantage of this offer and joined perhaps 25 other folks who managed to pull off the 10,400+ foot gain day hike that day. A couple of other folks signed out to go back to the cars while the rest of us SC types settled for the 8,000 foot gain to get up to the tram.
It was an extraordinary day for this particular trail. About 80 people managed to make it to the tram station. Paul Freiman's San Diego Peaks Club (SDPC) got 17 up to the tram (7 to the peak), the 3rd annual Coachella Valley Hiking Club (CVHC) lead of this trail got 38 to the tram. Don Weiss led a small group to the peak, and we ran into several other small groups or individuals on the trail. One guy claimed that he usually did it in four hours. A woman whipped by us and said she usually got to the tram in 4 hours and 15 minutes.
The tail end of our group took about 8 hours to get to the tram, some time having been spent with a participant who was having altitude problems, understandable considering the huge gain. The participants not already mentioned on the DPS hike were John & Carol McCully (Assistant), Suzanne Charleston, David Michels, Lynn Robinson, Bruce Trotter, Marvin Lucas, Randy Ragland and Jim Lee. Ron Hudson started late, caught up with us, and went on to reach the tram in 5 hours, then spent another four hours bagging San Jac and Jean peak.
Over the last 18 years I have taken one way descending tram rides about 40 times, having hiked up either from Palm Spings or Snow Creek. Only once have I been asked to buy a ticket, and that was probably 10 years ago. Apparently not enough people need one way rides down to make it worthwhile checking for tickets. A free ride down may now be harder to come by. On Nov 6 Maria Giles, Devra Wasserman and Jim Brown hiked up to the tram from Palm Spings. Maria and Devra were waved straight onto the tram but Jim was closely questioned about his lack of a ticket before being allowed on. The ticket taker hasn't been hiking with Maria and Devra and doesn't know about how they regularly grind guys (including yours truly) into the dirt. Who says there aren't advantages to being a woman.
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