Pilot Knob #1

10-May-03

By: Pete Yamagata


Lest this fine trip go unreported, this account is provided for the Echo.

A joint SPS/PCS trip, led by Michael McDermitt and Ron Hudson had been rescheduled to the next week due to a major storm the original weekend. I needed a new SPS peak for numbers, so eagerly signed up.

Meeting Mike and another PCS'er on Interstate 5 Friday, we came to Lake Isabella a bit before dinner, so shopped at a supermarket and ate our meals at the Walker Pass Campground. The night was pretty cool.

We had checked out the private residence at the bridge across the South Fork of the Kern River. No one was home, but a dog.

Saturday morning, we gathered the group and carpooled to a California Department of Fish and Game reserve. Starting up a dirt road by about 8:25 a.m., we entered the private land and crossed the rickety bridge, with posted warnings. Mike found a use trail leading to the left, so we took that. Following ducks, we ascended cross-country through the steep hillside, with plenty of brush, oaks, and pinyons. Two hikers saw this would not be an easy climb, so signed off.

I was falling behind the group, with the leader setting a good pace. I had thought there was a use trail all or most of the way, but we never saw it. After some time, we reached the ridge at a slight saddle, and rested. It was only some 400 or 500 feet to the top. A use trail became more prevalent at this point, but I had misjudged the amount of water I'd need. With the cool morning, I had brought only two liters.

The route enters a shrubby section, and then a class 2 rock move delayed me a bit. Ordered to "take off (my) pack," I did so promptly, and clambered behind the rest of the group to the rocky summit. It was about 1:20 p.m. I was able to bring up my digital camera with a film camera back-up.

We started down at a good time, and the temperatures grew warmer. Pretty much, our same route was followed down, and I anticipated the green, flat meadows below. Back to our cars by about 5:35 p.m., we hurried back to Walker Pass Campground and had a pleasant feast.

Sunday, we took off for Owens Peak. I had already done this, and knew our carload had a long drive home. We carpooled into the 4WD vehicles about a couple miles from the Owens Peak trailhead, and would you know it, encountered Sarah Wyrens checking out the area for some forthcoming outing. The trail climbs nicely up, but I was slow. I offered to sign out, since I estimated, with this fast group, there would be an hour's delay in our total round trip time ff1 continued. I hiked back to enjoy sights of tiny hummingbirds, and a fair display of wildflowers.

Back to the trucks, I spoke with some ATV'ers, then gamely ventured a short distance to explore some rocks and one potential car camping spot, with a distant view of Five Fingers.

The group returned in good time, by 3:25 p.m., and we motored back to the parking for the lesser vehicles, said our goodbyes, then our truck began the long drive home.

Other participants included Patty Rambert, Christopher Franchuk, Rod McNalley, and Chris Artale. I haven't any better records from the register, so my apologies to those whom I am unable to name.


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