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Gobblers Knob, Circle Mountain

6 July 1996

By: Penelope May

Other Participants: John Wells, Phil Wells, Ron May, Jerry & Lucy Wells, Joan Baker

John's grand and glorious 100th peak was harder to select than to climb! In the middle of a scorching July, where can you climb to celebrate the occasion when: 1) you have climbed all the obviously local peaks; 2) you prefer not to melt; 3) HPS has nothing appropriate scheduled (and you certainly couldn't wait ... that would require a pause in hiking ... out of the question); 4) you are accommodating friends driving from both Camarillo and Laguna Beach; 5) the Big Horn Sheep lambing season has closed the roads to some of the more obscure (but suitable) peaks; and, 6) one of your pals is recovering from a broken ankle?

After several exhausting weeks of deliberation, a plethora of telephone calls and schedule changes, combined with the thumbing of numerous guides and topos, finally the date, place and time were fixed: Circle Mountain near Wrightwood was triumphant!

We all met at 1 pm at the Mormon Rocks Ranger Station: it was nice and toasty by then! The pending 100 Peak Prince was trumpeting yet another fabulous climbing (because it's there!) tee-shirt, for which he suffered suitable abuse from the other more meekly clad participants. After a few brief rah! rah!s, we left to find Gobbler's Knob ... and climbed it; that was #99. Our newcomer friend Joan, an HPS beginner, sweated up the peak and drummed her chest with pride: #2 for her and very gratifying! (Little does she know, yet!) After we sun-burned ourselves on the bare peak reminiscing about the 99 peaks and working up some real excitement and anticipation for #100, we slid down the peak and "hot-footed" it over to Circle Mountain parking area.

By this time, unknown to John, we had all secreted into our various packs 2 bottles of chilled champagne (with ice!), wine glasses, hors d'hoevres including prosciutto and melons, various exotic cheeses, fruit and stuffed grape leaves, and an excellent (judging by its bulk and weight) camera. John had missed the action as he was busy changing into yet another braggart tee-shirt! Thence, onward we went: the "trail" up Circle Mountain was straight up, and fire-break or not, very rough, slippery and rubbly, and also, completely exposed to the blazing sun. En route, as John sprang to the peak with his next-to-nothing pack, he encouraged us poor burros to keep going... especially Joan, who had generously volunteered to bring the champagne and glasses (and was carrying them). Only as she hauled herself up that mountain did she realize the full implications of her selection (and the nature of her friends)!

Once up the meager but blistering 1.5 miles to the peak, we collapsed in the shade of some welcome shrubs, congratulating John loudly. After the appropriate photo-shoot, we spread out an ecologically sound (camouflage) blanket and served up our picnic celebration, much to John's (and his son Phil's) astonishment and glee. The champagne helped us step lightly on our return down the mountain, particularly Joan!

Later, over dinner, Jerry and Lucy presented John (in his 3rd shirt of the day!) with his HPS 100th Peak patch and pin; and, Ron and Pen presented him with a rock from the peak adorned with an engraved brass plate commemorating the occasion. It was a grand day of accomplishment, friendship and laughter and we all achieved our own little victories as we enjoyed watching our star claim his 100th Peak!

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