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Winston Ridge

19 November 1994

By: Shamus Fleming

Eighteen sets of legs (including sixteen pairs of the two-legged variety and two of the four-legged kind) met in La Cañada at the 'respectable' hour of nine o'clock. The group included two people who haven't hiked with us for awhile - Mary Ann Vogel and her daughter Julie. It was great to see such a wonderful turnout considering the coolness (record cold for November) and windy, snowy conditions in the mountains. A few of us met an hour earlier at Lloyds Restaurant for an enjoyable breakfast and to harass the poor waitress with our jibes and demands - bad children! It was a jovial atmosphere. A hawk floated alongside the highway as we drove up into the mountains - a good omen. Although there didn't appear to be much snow on the lower front range of the San Gabriels, by the time we reached the high country (above 5000') the snow was most magnificent! It blew across the road in drifts, giving a foretaste of what was to come. Grand views across the Mojave Desert of the snow capped Tehachapis greeted us as we ascended. Exiting our cars at Cloudburst Summit, the wind whipped us into a frenzy as people told me, "Why don't you go alone to do the peak, then come back so we can celebrate!" Cowards! It was cold, probably -40° with the wind chill (or so it felt), but I would stand for no excuses. Since I hadn't done the peak before, I decided to follow my nose to the top, much to the chagrin of my comrades. I followed the road that heads down into Cooper Canyon and then headed up the gully and ridge east of point 6903'; then we traversed to the ridge north of point 6903'. Half the hikers in our group were in ski clothes and the rest bundled up like Eskimos - it was a very colorful entourage! We followed the trail up along the ridge and over several false summits (each of which gave me a false thrill as I anticipated my ultimate accomplishment), and then, I finally summited! What a glorious feeling! Soon we signed the register, opened the bubbly and passed out a few goodies in celebration of the moment. We recounted the many great places, people, and times that led to this point after 23+ years of hiking and peak-bagging. Bobcat presented me with my List Completion pin (which he and others had purchased for me - what a nice gesture!). After group photos and "hero shots," the natives became restless - so we headed back, this time traversing the west side of point 6903' (snowy as the other slope was, but passable). We followed an easier way along an old logging road to the main road. It was warmer now chugging up the road to Cloudburst Summit. The group drove down the highway to Newcomb Ranch Inn, wherein the party continued with the entire group in attendance. On the way down the highway Bobcat, Laura Webb and I stopped at the HPS Adopt-a-Highway sign for more photos. The party continued later at the new lair of the Bobcat in Montrose - a very nice ending to a great day. Many thanks to the participants who braved the elements to share a special day with me: Jim and Madeline Riepe, Cedar, Wednesday, Garwood Murta, Christey Schreiber, Mary Ann Vogel, Julie Vogel, Peter Doggett, Stag Brown, Sandy Houston, Joe Young, Mike and Dotty Sandford, Sheba Webb, Mike Baldwin, and a very special thanks to Bobcat. I know that other friends wanted to be there also but were unable to; perhaps then I'll have to finish the list again!

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