Martinez Mountain


By: Trudie Hunt



It was ten o'clock at night when the Greyhound bus left 33 of us at Pinyon Flats Campground on the Palms to Pines Highway. A cold, strong wind, harbinger of the approaching storm, sent us hastily to the shelter of the nearest hollow and bush.

At 640 a.m. the obliging and friendly Mrs, Brietzke served us a hearty breakfast, with Vic Metcalfe gallantly assisting. About a third of the group climbed Sheep Mountain of the 100 Peak List, another third conquered Martinez, a double entry on the 100 Peaks and Desert Peaks List, while the rest of us were happy to make our camp at Agua Alta Spring. This is an old Indian camp site as the quantity of potshards attested. We found that water had been piped into a small trough, presumably for the benefit of game. The increase in the amount of cans and bottles reconfirmed the presence of tote gotes, whose tracks we had seen in the washes.

During the day the storm made sallies across the Santa Rosas, bringing a few snowflakes at supper time. During the night those sleeping in plastic tubing felt themselves encompassed by a heavy weight as deep, wet snow covered all beneath. What beauty awaited us next morning as, unmindful of cold and wet, we watched the sun illumine a formerly drab desert with an unexpected winter mantle of sparkling white, and clouds poured up the canyon to shroud the hillside.

After a breakfast cooked over the flames coaxed by a few skilled and patient firemakers, we started our long descent to the bus awaiting at Valerie Jeans. Snow, we decided, would make Agua Alta Canyon treacherous. Under the leadership of seldom seen, but old time Desert Peaker Dick Kenyon, we dropped down a steep slope to Martinez Canyon and a miner's stone hut. From here it was an easy but long trek out the canyon to a date shake at Valerie Jeans. Botanists Louis Wheeler collected an exciting variety of plants which the uninitiated hurried by. Storms building up over the Santa Roses and Orocopias threatened, but brought only a pleasantly cool temperature.

An Ample meal was enjoyed at the San Gorgonio Inn, which realty does mean "come as you are". - Trudie Hunt

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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