Twin Peaks and the Mount Waterman Rendezvous
28 July 2001
By: Karen Isaacson Leverich
Leaders: Byron Prinzmetal, Mars Bonfire and Carleton Shay
I surrender -- I won't even attempt to list who was hiking in the group that went to the rendezvous by way of Twin Peaks. Byron Prinzmetal, Mars Bonfire, and Carleton Shay, our intrepid leaders, were of course there. But the participants were ever-changing, signing in and out, jumping ship to different hikes. My mind totally boggles. I've no idea how the leaders of the various hikes kept it all straight, but they seemed to have done just that.
Because our group had a bit further to go, we started hours earlier than the other groups, and were on trail, going up ("Nobody warned me this would be uphill!") the trail by 7:30AM or so. One of the icons in the schedule billed this as an an educational hike, so Byron promised we'd stop and admire if we ran across a snow plant. We eventually did, but it was so scrawny and desiccated that we hiked right on past. Our educational interlude instead involved being introduced to that old standard, the Jeffrey pine. "Sniff the bark, notice how sweet it smells!" Yeah, right -- I think this Jeffrey pine sniffing stuff may just be a plot to turn us all into tree huggers.
We'd ridden in the same car all the way to the trailhead with Chris Davis, and he and Brian had done some extensive "geek bonding", discovering their mutual interest in the Unix/Linux operating system, and exchanging numerous arcane anecdotes from the Stone Age on the Internet. But it wasn't until something was said about the recent drive-up peakbagging in the Los Padres that he made the connection between the Brian and Karen he'd shared a ride with, and the Brian and Karen he knew from here on SCHIKER. "Oh, you're Brian and Karen!" There ended up being a symmetry here -- on the way down from Waterman, he asked me if I'd tried wearing my socks inside out, like he'd suggested on SCHIKER, to avoid those annoying blisters. "Oh, you're Chris!" I responded. I mean, I knew he was Chris, but the Chris I'd met on SCHIKER? I suppose this is already perfectly obvious to everyone here, but ... wow! The people who write and share here on SCHIKER are actually real people, and sometimes one gets lucky and meets them.
Er, meanwhile, back on the mountain, we eventually arrived at an intersection, with Twin Peaks to the left, miles and miles away with thousands of feet of elevation loss and gain in between, and Waterman a mere fraction of a mile to the right. It was hot and still. It was only going to get hotter. Asher signed out, and said he'd wait for us on Waterman, maybe sign back in there. Upon being accused of exhibiting common sense, and noting Byron's failure to talk anyone else out of the trip (and he tried, Byron definitely tried), Asher suggested that instead of common sense, he must be uniquely in possession of UNcommon sense.
He may have had a point there! The rest of us turned out backs on Waterman, and started the 1000' or so descent to the saddle between Waterman and Twin Peaks. This was pretty uneventful, though there was a certain amount of scrambling over or around the occasional tree that had fallen to block our way. One was particularly annoying, requiring many of us to pull ourselves up onto the trunk using some handy branches. My first Class 3 tree?
Once we hit the saddle, our nicely graded trail was at an end, and instead it was time to go up the side of the mountain on a steep use trail. But we were the few, the proud, the slugs -- we took it one slow step at a time. There were places where for every foot forward I stepped, I slid back several inches. "Just like Galena!" someone assured me. Oh, great, I have more (and worse) to look forward to???
At last, we were at the top. After some lawyerly finagling (because this was Twin Peaks, did it count as two peaks? did we have to do both to have it count at all?), we decided it made much better sense to instead celebrate Byron's awesome accomplishment -- by successfully navigating us to the top of Twin Peaks, he's led every peak on the list.
Well, we did debate breaking out our goodies then and there and partying away, but kept thinking of all the good people waiting for us on Waterman. So after a long break (was it five minutes?), we were heading back down towards the saddle. There was one place which had been particularly nasty to scramble up on the way up, and when I got back there on the way down, I just knew that my feet were going to slide out from under me and I was going to go down it on my butt. Deciding it was more dignified to make a feature out of a necessity, I simply sat down in the gravel and deliberately slid those ten feet. Y'know, it was almost like being back in grade school, on the playground slide? You could probably charge people for having fun like this!
Eventually we were back at the saddle, and then were headed back up the trail we'd descended mere hours before. At some point, Byron observed that it was only 3/4ths of a mile to the summit, if we left the trail and ascended this handy gully. ("Is this a world-class gully?" queried Brian, still feeling a bit left out from not having descended that world-class ridge last week. The response? "No, for that you'll need to go to Galena.")
Finally, Ingeborg thought she heard voices, looked up and ... there were people: we'd made it to the rendezvous! Fashionably late, yes, but not that far behind the previous group. There were definitely lots of people having lots of fun, eating lots of food.
Ping and Ingeborg took turns pointing out famous people to me. "That's Frank Goodykoontz. That's Southern Courtney. That's Rosemary Campbell." And so on. Hopefully there won't be a quiz later, as I have to confess I didn't get them all sorted out.
All good things must come to an end, though. After awhile, Byron gathered us back up, and we headed downhill to the cars. Where I discovered that, oops!, those cookies I'd taken along to share at the rendezvous, that I'd lugged up Waterman, then up Twin Peaks, then back up Waterman? Er, blush, I never took them out of the my pack. Oh, but hey, there's always next year, right? (Anyone want a stale battered cookie?)
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