Martinez Mountain, Sheep Peak
By: Wynne Benti
Leaders: Randy Danta, Wynne Benti
Saturday morning, by 6:15am, thirteen trip participants had signed in at the roadhead on HWY 74 across from Pinyon flats campground, and were in their cars headed toward the Dolomite Mine. Following the HPS Peek Guide write-up, all two wheel cars were parked at the large parking area en route to the mine. With everyone comfortably accommodated in the four remaining trucks, we drove the dicey dirt road down to the mine where we parked. We were on the Cactus Spring Trail at 6:45.
The trail was well-marked with what appeared to be fairly new signs with the word 'TRAIL' emblazoned on them. In fact, in some places, there was a sign marking the trail every ten or twenty feet. We never saw a sign for Cactus Spring (or any sign of Cactus Spring). We did ascend Martinez by the ridge on the south side of the 'prominent gully' mentioned in the peak guide write-up, though the gully would have been fine for the ascent. Our group moved at a brisk pace and all were signed in on the top of Martinez by 11:10am. One individual with a knee problem signed out and with the assistance of an 'E' rated leader headed for the cars. The remaining group descended by the prominent gully and where the gully meets the wash, stopped for a half hour lunch break.
Using the peak guide write-up once again, we went to the left of the 'prominent white rock ridge' and followed the contour of the ridge to the summit of Sheep. By following the contour, we lost little elevation and were able to move with relative ease through the brush-free terrain. All were signed in on the top of Sheep by 2:10pm. Descent was made by the southwest ridge directly off the summit of Sheep. We rejoined the trail about 1/2 mile below Cactus Spring and were surprised to meet up with the other two participants who had signed off earlier, and were taking their time returning to the cars. Randy slowed the pace of the group to keep everyone together. We were back at the cars by 4:45pm.
Twenty-five people had signed up for this trip, originally billed as a climb of Martinez, Sheep, Asbestos, Santa Rosa and Lookout, but most cancelled because of the weather forecast. Saturday was gorgeous with sunny, blue skies, though slightly windy. Toward the end of the day, clouds rolled in over the Santa Rose mountains darkening the late afternoon sky. Following Saturday's hike, seven people stayed on for Sunday. We enjoyed happy hour in the beck of Ken's truck in Pinyon flats campground. Around three in the morning, the rain started coming down and by sunrise, it was raining and blowing really hard. As the last trip participants signed off the trip, the leaders also decided to make an early return to Los Angeles. Trip participants were: Austin and Betty Stirratt, Jim Murphy, Mary Sue Miller, Ken Croker, Minor White, Roy Stewart and Karen, Carleton Shay, John Strauch and Frank James. This was Mary Sue Miller's second to last Desert Peak. She will be finishing the DPS list on Old Woman in April. Thanks to everyone for a good trip.
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