Indianhead, Coyote Mountain
By: Sue Holloway
4th Annual Ladies Only Adventure
These trips are always fun - and this one was no exception. Our group of ten met at the day use parking area at the end of the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. (Thanks to the State's bursting bank account, the parking fee is now only $2/per car.) After introductions (Mary Motheral, co-leader, Sherry Ross, Jan St. Amend, Judy Hummerich, - Christine Mitchell, Rena Tishman, Michele Dickerson, Mary Miller and Patty Rambert), Mary Mo and Sherry led us over to the pond where we looked for the desert pupfish that we never did see. Since Sherry's a naturalist, this was just our first opportunity to take advantage-of her knowledge as she pointed out numerous things to us during the day.
The trip was billed as an opportunity to brush up on navigation skills so I had provided a copy of the topo map from the DPS Peaks Guide to each climber and pointed out our route and some of the points we were going to try to identify. Mary Mil had anew GPS arid I promised her we'd take some time to work with that too.. We started out on the good trail that, follows Palm Canyon to the beautiful palm oasis where we took a long break. It was, already quite warm so we enjoyed the shade as we rested and cooled off. Mary Mil and I wencout of the grove so we could work on some basic skills on her GPS. Twenty minutes later everyone was ready to head out and Michele announced she felt she could continue on with us and climb the peak. (Initially, she wasn't sure as her asthma had been bothering her for a few days.) So, still 10 in number, we continued.
About one mile later, Mary used her GPS again to confirm our collective opinions that we were at the base of the ridge we were supposed to ascend. Bingo!! Garmen and Girls, what more does one need? We found some shade a bit up the canyon where we took another rest and more fluids; it was really hot by now. The decision was made that we'd all gain the ridge at our own speed. We collectively consulted our maps and agreed to take our next break at the saddle on the NW ridge of Indianhead. From there, it's almost a stroll to the summit though there are some big rocks to maneuver but they posed no problem to this strong group!
The view from the summit was fantastic and we congratulated Patty and Michele on reaching the summit of their first DPS peak. We enjoyed our lunch, read and signed the register and took pictures. Two other climbers arrived shortly after we did and Patty knew them! Small world...
On her previous climbs of Indianhead, Christine had descended via Route A and assured us it held no big "surprises" so, in the interest of time and to avoid retracing our steps, that was our descent route. I'd been reluctant before to take this route due to the DPS Guide's warning about agave. I think maybe some HPS climbers have been up there recently with their clippers as there wasn't an unreasonable amount of the stuff!!
We had just gotten down to the trail when Linda McDermott appeared, hiking up the trail from the parking lot. She hadn't been able to join us for the climb but she'd told me she was driving up for the potluck and camping: Perfect timing. The hike out on the trail was short and, once we got to the cars, I announced we were going to leave quickly as I wanted to be at our campsite before it was totally dark and we were getting close.
The caravan followed Christine and Rena who knew of a good place to camp. When we got there it was dark and, since we had several low/no clearance 2WD vehicles, we didn't explore the area too much. We found a big area and circled the wagons (and trucks and SUV's and sedans...). It didn't take along before the lanterns were lit, the campfire was started, the tables were set up and the food was spread out. What a feast we had. It continues to amaze me that these DPS potlucks don't have to be "organized" (you bring this, you bring that ....). I just put "...traditional DPS potluck Saturday night ...." on the trip sheet and, like magic, every time we end up with a buffet to rival anything in Laughlin! It wasn't a late night for most of us (including me!) as it had been a tiring climb. Plus, we had another peak to do on Sunday! Linda, Mary Mo, Christine, Patty and Jan were the diehards who tended to the fire.
There were only 5 of us for Coyote on Sunday (Mary Mo, Patty, Sherry, Jan and I) so we left the group campsite while the others were still sipping their coffee. This is the third time I've climbed Coyote and it was as enjoyable as ever. It was, as promised, an easy "ridge run", 4 mi. RT, 2600' gain in a very leisurely 4 1/2 hours, including 30 minutes on the summit. When we were back at the cars, we commented how nice it was going to be to get home relatively early on a Sunday. Patty joked that her husband would think that something went wrong ....that she didn't like the people in the group or something.
It was a terrific week-end with a great group of very strong and enthusiastic ladies all of whom share a love of the outdoors and adventure. We welcomed Mary Mil, Michele, Sherry. and Patty on their very first DPS trip and I certainly hope to see them on others. Special thanks to Mary Motheral for co-leading this trip!
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