White Mountain Peak

5-Sep-04

By: Wynne Benti

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Rosy the Cattle Dogís First Fourteener

I saw the ad in our local paper, the Sierra Reader, that the gates to Barcroft were opening for hikers on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so we zipped up Silver Canyon in my old Jeep (250,000 miles on the original transmission and engine), the fastest way to the crest from Bishop.

Iíve hiked this peak almost a dozen times but decided to take Rosy, my nine month old cattle dog. Not sure how the altitude would affect her, she had her usual mountain mix: my Power Bars and Glacier Freeze Frost Gatorade cut with water, her favorites. She did well on the trail though a heavier dog might need boots. The day was beautiful with a bright blue and unusually cloudless sky. The moon lingered above the summit hut which we reached in just over two hours.

The highpoint of the day, not counting the summit, was sighting at close range, nearly two dozen bighorn sheep at the beginning of the steep grade up the peak. In all the years Iíve hiked in the desert, I personally have never seen so many bighorn sheep together at one time. To me, this is the very reason why the White Mountains are so worthy of wilderness status: to set aside a parcel of land for the bighorn.

We were back at the car within 4.5 hours and zipped back down Silver Canyon beneath a bevy of gliders and red-tailed hawks.


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