By: Fran Smith
At 8:30 a.m. 14 eager desert peakers left Sheep Creek Spring to begin the long stretch of dry stream bed to within sight of, and 40 mins from, the top of Avawatz. The final 30 mins. of the stream involved a steep climb, and it being 1:00 p.m., the leader heard grumblings, concerning food as he directed traffic up this stretch. With a comfortable spot for lunch (with view) just ahead, all tummies were soon appeased. Twelve signed the register and the weather was perfect except for haziness.
We returned by ridging a mile before descending a rugged slope with one good stretch of scree. A 60-ft. drop off necessitated a detour but we soon reached the stream bed, and returned to the point of departure. Time nine and a half hours.
Supper was had in Shoshone via cafe, market, or personal resources. Regrouping, we caravaned a roundabout but reasonable route to the starting point of Sunday's climb, one member having left Shoshone for home with a match stick and wad of gum hopefully filling a rent in his gas tank.
Following breakfast at 6:00 a.m., we visited the owners of the ranch at horse Thief Springs. This was my third visit with them having climbed Kingston two days earlier (Friday). Learning I'd return Sunday to lead a group up the mountain, the well-seasoned rancher had doubled up with laughter. He considered climbing it once - as too often; however, he agreed the beauty, exercise, and clean air of the mountains was better than "wastin' away in the city smog", even if it meant the "nonsense of climbing mountains".
Kingston offered the hardest terrain to hike I've encountered in 25 desert peaks (including Rabbit in one day). Eleven hikers started and finished with the 2 women (Helen Siemens and Joyce Davis) setting the pace. (No reflection on women hikers - - these two are topnotch and always welcome). -Total time: ten hours with enough daylight to reach the Interstate north of Baker at dusk.
Ex-DPS Chairman Abe Siemens, Bob Greenawalt, and Bill Clifton added dignity to the Avawatz group; and Bob Bear, ex-DPS and Angeles Chapter Chairman joined us for Kingston. Thanks to Herb Saban for volunteering as assistant leader.
General feeling indicated we had tackled two pretty tough peaks for one weekend.
(No one suggested climbing a third peak.)
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