By: Leora Jones
Eleven brave souls ventured out in the Friday night downpour to meet at the Amargosa Opera House. At sunrise Saturday it was delightfully crisp, clear and a perfect temperature. The snow capped peaks in the distance were a sight to behold. Since the Ash Meadows refuge is now managed by the US Fish and Game and no longer the BLM (see accompanying page)', we were only able to tour the springs as swimming is no longer allowed. We ventured out on the mud-soaked roads (with only 2 vehicles sliding off the road to be pulled back on by 4wd) to see Point of Rocks Spring, School Spring, Devil's Hole and Crystal Spring, which is very appropriately named. The walking was a bit of a slog but a fun experience.
Shortly after noon we headed for the mobile home pads off highway 170 opposite Pyramid Pk, which was to be the location for the afternoon horseshoe tournament (won by Kerman LaBoeuf), spread of happy hour and the chili cookin' and tastin'. The non-tourists started rolling in around 2:30 and by 4pm we had close to 35 people. Karen and Sherry's group joined us as their Mud Hills campsite was too muddy!
The tasting began at 5pm. Chili chefs included Linda LeBoeuf, Betsy Lutz, Mike Treat, Sue Leverton Bob Greenawalt and Suzanne Mamedalin. Within two hours we had our winner and it was a close decision. First prize went to the hottest chili this side of Texas, an Italian chili with little meatballs, linguini sausage and jalapenos, made by Mike Treat. Second place went to Linda LeBoeuf with a good old traditional meat and bean chili. Sue Leverton's vegetarian chili was notable. Each contestant had several votes and all entries were well sampled. Bob Greenawalt cooked his beans from "scratch" without soaking them and his entry wasn't ready until nearly midnight. Live and learn, Bob! In an attempt to do our part toward social etiquette and the reduction of air pollution, we brought and distributed 3 - 5 drops of "Beano" on each volunteer's first bite of beans. This product aids in the digestion of beans to breakdown the indigestible sugars which ferment and turn to gas. The Sunday morning poll verified that it helped many but it was not perfect. The remainder of the bottle was awarded as first prize to Mike and a 1 lb bag of kidney beans was given to Linda as second prize.
Evening stars and a chilly night brought on a roaring campfire with stories, singing and, or course, more libations. There was talk about the possibility of a 2nd annual chili cookoff, but who knows. It was a complete success thanks to the contributions and participation of all. Trip participants in addition to those already mentioned included Carol Campbell, Kerman LeBoeuf, Tom Sakowych, Ron Grau, Evelyn Chadwell, Susanne Johnson, Jon Lutz, Paul Freiman, Evan Koch, Igor and Comet Mamedalin, John, Wendy, and Chessie McCully, Bob Wyka and J. Holshuh and about 15 folks from Karen Leonard's Eagle-Stewart climb.
Sunday morning a group of fourteen hikers started out at 7:45 from the mobile home pads for Pyramid Pk. The group of seven non-DPS hikers amongst us were encouraged to try for the summit but even with a gentle pace they turned back one after one until only Tom Sakowych of Hemet and Evan Koch of San Diego remained. We climbed by the usual route and, except for strong winds, encountered no difficulties. The view included Porter, Sentinel, Telescope, Tucki, Corkscrew, Tin, Dry, Palmer, Grapevine, Mummy, Charleston, Potosi, McCullough, Kingston, Clark, Avawatz and Smith. All but three were covered with fresh snow, Telescope having at least 7,000 feet of snow. We were back to the cars by 3:15. Thanks to Igor for a fine assist.
We encountered a new, unauthorized 4wd track leading from near the start of the old route, ducked with frequent two foot high rock cairns and leading to the low point on the skyline at 3960+ ft. I was sorry to see it as it encourages unnecessary vehicle travel and I'm afraid that some members of our climbing Section will be encouraged to use their 4wd to enjoy this peak.
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