By: John Vitz
Friday night while Jon Inskeep was sleeping in Pinyon Flat Campground, a sports car came blasting into the area, skidded up to Jon's campsite, backfired a couple of times, and roared out. And Jon says to himself, "Well, Vitz is here." An hour later Larry Fink and I drive up so quietly that he doesn't even wake up. Once you get a reputation...
The next morning we met at 7:30 - all of us except Les Stockton - leader extraordinaire - who was out getting lost looking for the roadhead, and Harry Brumer who, of course, came screeching in at the last moment. It was at this time that I was introduced to some insidious HPS device known as the sign up sheet. Paul was judiciously making sure that everyone signed in. My friends were justifiably suspicious of the whole thing, but I told them that, it was standard procedure for those funny other sections. So they signed it - they trust me, the dum-dums. It seems that there has been a considerable amount of road construction in the area and the old road to the trailhead had been bisected by a new graded road, the banks of which had to be jumped. The big cars were left behind and the VWs, Toyotas, etc were used to get everyone to the roadhead about 8.
Rumor has it that Harry Melts left for the peak before we did - but since I didn't see him all day will assume that he was not really with us. Les put in the lead as we ran down the 500 feet to Horsethief Springs where we regrouped. Les asked me to drink some of the water so that we would know, on the return trip, if it was OK. It was at this point that the last DPS meeting was brought up. It was then that someone asked for the recipe for pupfish chowder and someone else pulled out the book "101 Ways to Prepare Pupfish". We then started to climb out of the canyon. Near the top we asked each hiker if he had written to his congressman lately. A yes answer allowed him to continue - a no answer allowed them to be pushed over the edge.
As we wandered across the flats a group gravitated to the rear. We watched in astonishment as Super Leader Les went over a ridge rather than around it. We thought that maybe that was the way it was done in the HPS so we followed him. Near the top of the ridge I had to delay for a while. After starting again I encountered my tail end group - Vitz' s Vikings - wandering in the wrong direction, having been left by Les' Losers. Over Fred Bode's constant objections (trust me, Fred) I led them up the most direct route. We could hear the other guys yelling "Rock" for about an hour as we plugged up the ridge. My boys finally arrived at the summit plateau and we wandered over to the rest of the group, which was already splitting up for the descent.
After a short drink to celebrate my 100th Desert Peak (counting repeats) we noticed that everyone except for the leaders had already started down. I picked up Chuck McQuillan and descended by the same route end overtook the first Sheep group. We wandered overland to that peak arriving just before Lipsohn's Lightfoots. Les' Losers had already returned to the cars where they were drinking my beer. We zapped down to Cactus Springs and followed the trail out to the cars arriving shortly after dark, with more or less the same number of people who had signed in.
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