Samon Peak, Madulce Peak, Big Pine Mountain, West Big Pine

14 April 1990

By: Ruth Lee Dobos


On April 14th, over Easter weekend 1990, Dr. Ruth and Frank Dobos finished the list for the first and second time respectively.

The trip was a private hike and included Charlie Knapke, Jim Raiford, David Eisenberg and Barbara Cohen.

It was Thursday afternoon, the 12th of April, bright and sunny, actually hot - that Barbara, Jim, Frank and Ruth met in a small restaurant in Maricopa called Edna's. The food is not necessarily to be recommended, so please do not consider this an endorsement. After dining on whatever, Barbara and Jim followed Frank and Ruth through San Barbara Canyon to the "Big Four" trailhead.

As we were just about to leave, who should arrive but Charlie Knapke in his Cherokee Jeep. The five of us hiked in on the road approximately four miles to a good clearing on our right where Frank put a "duck." There is a triangular sign on the far side of the clearing.

We were setting up camp and as the sun was going down, along came David Eisenberg. So then we were six, as originally planned, standing in the dark and telling stories til we all "ran down " and retired for the night.

Next morning, about sunrise and already getting very hot, we were on the trail heading for Chokecherry Spring. You really can't miss Chokecherry Spring with the large watering trough and the big tank above it, and of course, the resident frog (more later). We dropped our backpacks, took up our daypacks and headed up the cliffs for Samon. It was a hot and miserable hike, but we made it that day, somehow.

We crossed our fingers and camped right on the road for two nights, putting up small barricades for a warning at either end of our camp, taking the tents down in the daytime. Fortunately for us, no one was traveling our part of the road that weekend. Friday night we were joined by mountain bikers John Cheslick and Bruce Knudsen. They rode their bikes to the trailheads and we saw them intermittently for the next day and a half. We also met and talked with a very nice ranger named Dick Skinner from the Santa Barbara district. He was staying at Alamar campground. We saw several other miscellaneous people, some on horseback, but none that were going our way.

Our wildlife consisted mainly of our resident frog who lived in the water trough and croaked all night, every night. David threatened to murder him and Ruth threatened to call the SPCA. David actually repented after we spotted him or her as the case might, due to the fact it was really a very small and lonely frog. We saw little bats swooping over our water at dusk and an owl hooting in the night...and that was about it.

Saturday morning, at daylight after our breakfast, the six of us headed for the rest of the peaks - first Big Pine, then West Big Pine, the most beautiful and then Madulce, our list finishing peak.

A wonderful day it was. The weather had cooled slightly and the peaks were the greatest. Ruth, it turns out, is the first person to finish the list for the First time this year (#153) and Frank (#19) for the second time. Ruth and Frank are only the second couple to finish the list the first and second time on the same peak together. Oh joy!

After the second night at our sumptuous campsite, we packed up and out to our vehicles about noon. Charlie headed for home, David to do Fox (he needed it) and Barbara and Jim, Ruth and Frank had a great lunch at the Country Kitchen in Wheeler Ridge, just before the Grapevine - and then, we called it a day, heading for home.

Oh! What wonderful list finishing company we had with David, Charlie, Jim and Barbara. We wouldn't of had it any other way, the Gang of Six. A special thanks to my husband Frank Dobos, without whom I might never have finished the list. And to my mother, Dr. Pearl Lee, a Sierra Club member with whom I climbed my first HPS peak, San Gorgonio in 1970.


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