By: Patty Kline
On Saturday March 23rd our group of 7 met at the turn off for Panamint Butte at the intersection of State Highway 190 and the Four Mine Road. I have made many plans to climb this somewhat recent addition to the list, but never left Los Angeles to do it. There was a dry weather front this weekend. At the 2,600 foot level it was so windy that Ron Young was blown into me as he stood up. All of us had trouble walking so we canceled it. Rats! 2 people went on to do the peak after signing out, Gary Craig and Randy Ragland.
We then drove to Stove Pipe Wells to the pay private campground and spent the day snacking on the evenings happy hour munchies and drinking beer. The wind was so strong there were clouds of dust blowing through the campground. The night before when the wind storm was at it's height you couldn't even see across the parking lot. The clerk at the store said there were gusts to 90 MPH, but I think she estimated too high.
After dinner Bob Michael from Santa Barbara and George Quinn from Las Vegas joined us. Bob and George are old climbing buddies who met at the same company working as geologists.
Sunday morning we left about 7:15 am for Canyon Point. This is a 10 1/2 mile dirt road in Marble Canyon with a lot of sand. Ron Young was the only one with 4 wheel drive so I asked Bob Michael to drive my 2 wheel drive Pathfinder I call Amanda. I am not the seasoned 4x4 driver that Bob is, and thought it would be best to have him drive. There were 7 of us today because Randy Ragland left for town on Saturday after climbing Panamint Butte with Gary Craig. John Cheslick also left on Saturday, but Gary stayed with us on Sunday for Canyon Point, the easy peak that is. Gary has established his reputation as a super hiker by doing Big Picacho as a day hike on April 28th with Ron Hudson and John McCully. As we drove up Marble Canyon the walls became very high towering over a very narrow canyon floor. In one place a flock of cliff sparrows were flying around the walls above us. At 9 miles we couldn't go any farther because the road became impassable for 4x4. We walked the extra 1 1/4 What was amazing was a Pathfinder (obviously 4x4) had gotten in all the way. It looked like they were camping for a few days. With the added mileage the 5 mile hike became an 8 mile hike with still the same approximate gain of 3100 feet. It took us 5 3/4 hours, including 55 minutes for lunch on top at 5390 feet. The views were great. We had a remembrance at lunch for Theresia Glover, who was supposed to assist me on this hike. She died suddenly on January 28th, much to my shock and grief. She was a good friend of mine and will be missed by many people. Theresia was mainly known for her HPS leads and activity. She was just getting starting on the DPS list. Ron Young agreed soon after her death to lead the weekend with me.
The 1000 foot sand run coming down from Canyon Point is a lot of fun. We got back to our 2 vehicles for snacks and beer or soft drinks before starting our drive back on the sandy road to Stove Pipe Wells. My congratulation or due to Bob Michael who never once got stuck driving Amanda (my vehicle).
Everyone had a great time. The participants were Harriet Edwards, Betsy Morgan, Randy Ragland, John Cheslick, George Quinn and Bob Michael. Bob Michael now only has 3 peaks to go for list finish!
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