McPherson Peak, Peak Mountain, Fox Mountain #1
By: Asher Waxman
Leaders: Asher Waxman, Daniel Richter
One of the main attractions of this trip that I remembered from the first time I did it was Aliso Campground. Arriving there Friday afternoon, I was delighted. Aliso is small, 8 spaces, but they're all spacious, flat, and oak-shaded. Aliso Creek forms one side and this year was full enough so we had to scout a bit for a dry-foot crossing. The trailheads for McPherson and Peak are right there.
I'd set the meeting time at 8:30 am so people could drive out Saturday morning. We took the ridge trail (the current primary HPS route) which was attractive, steep, and moderately brushy about 2/3 of the way up. Clouds were hovering around our peaks as we approached, and when we got to McPherson, the wind was up and we were glad we'd brought extra clothes and windbreakers. We even.considered hiking back down and driving around to peak-deciding against because of the 40 mile distance on dirt road. Luckily, just then a group of backroaders were in the area and going our way. We begged piteously and were chauffeured to the point where you catch the east ridge up to Peak. Now the sun came out, views opened up and the 3 miles back along the road were a pleasant walk. We decided to take the Hog-Pen Springs Trail back to camp. This trail is in excellent condition and offers totally unspoiled views of rich, green mountainsides-with an abundance of flowers all along the trail. Even with our ride, we figured the roundtrip at about 13 miles with 35W gain. We were back to camp early enough to enjoy a leisurely Happy Hour in the sun before heading down to the Buckhorn Cafe in New Cuyama for dinner. In addition to the usual buffalo burger, they offer ostrich burgers, which some of us ordered and enjoyed. Back to camp still before dark. Dan started up a fine campfire. It was just cool enough to really appreciate it.
Saturday's group included Dan's son Willie Richter, (HPS member) Devra Wasserman, Steve Nardi, (who needed to leave Saturday night) George Thomas, Chuck Sale, and Maggie Singleton. Vi Grasso joined us in the evening after doing the hike about an hour behind us.
Sunday morning found us back at the Buckhorn for breakfast. Chuck and Maggie had gone for an earlier start on Fox. The rest of us started up Fox around 9:30. A superb, clear day, a route notably steep at times but more than compensatorily rich in flowers-just a bit warm for a couple of us. Views from the top were excellent and farranging, arguably including the Sierra truly Nevada.
The drive back via the Mil Potrero Rd and Frazier Park, which some of us took, is one of the finest drives to be done anywhere in California. Actually, world class in its variety, near and distant prospects, and, as in this season, the flowers: mountainsides full of lupine, owl's clover, poppies, and may others.
Altogether a fine outing. Thanks again to Dan for helping to make it happen.
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