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San Rafael Peak

7 September 1997

By: Maura Raffensperger

Leaders: Maura Raffensperger, Diane Dunbar

This was my "I" level check out hike, so I made my list, and was checking it twice. There had been flash flooding in several Southland locations the previous week, so I dutifully called the Ranger Station in Frazier Park Friday to check on the road, heat, and any flash flood warnings. I remembered to remind participants to bring their Adventure Pass. I gave Diane a blank evaluation form. I left Oxnard Saturday afternoon to spend the night at Pine Springs Campground, so I wouldn't be late. All was well, until Frazier Park, where I remembered that I had left the waiver/sign-in sheets on my couch in Oxnard.

By this time, it was early evening, and my husband had a look on his face which indicated that driving home and then back to the campground was not an option. No problem; Diane could bring them in the morning. Her husband answered the phone, listened to my request, and informed me that he had just taken Diane to the Emergency Room. Her eye was troubling her, and he wasn't sure she would even be able to make it Sunday.

On to Plan B. Since I had required a SASE, I had a list of participants. Most had indicated that they would also be spending the night at Pine Springs Campground, and most were leaders. Surely one of them would have a stray sign-in sheet in their car. HAH! This was not an auspicious beginning.

Back to the phone. Diane was still in the Emergency Room. I left messages with the two people not at the campground asking them to bring sign-in sheets. I crossed my fingers and went to bed.

Diane rallied and arrived Sunday morning, after only a few hours sleep. Both she and Joe Young had sign-in sheets. Things were looking up!

After that long-winded prelude, the gist of the trip is as follows: Sixteen of us left the trail head at 7:40, and sixteen returned to the same point at 3:30 that afternoon. We all bagged the peak, there were no major injuries, and Betty Stirratt finished the list for the third time. Harriet Edwards, Diane, and I commemorated that achievement by presenting Betty with three tubes of oil paint in appropriate colors of the Los Padres National Forest.

I couldn't have asked for a nicer group of people on my provisional hike. Everyone was very supportive, and allowed me time to route find and study my map. We actually ended up with an almost brush-free route. Having scouted both Route 1 and Route 2, 1 recommend Route 2 ("continue up the trail to a saddle at 5700'"). There is a bit more gain, but its worth it to avoid what one participant called the "green hell". Also be aware that the HPS topo is based on the Lockwood Valley topo dated 1943 (photo inspected 1971). There is a new topo dated 1995 that shows the trails as they exist today. Try to stay on the ridges to cross to the ridge leading up to San Rafael. It's less brushy, and has the added benefit of reducing cumulative elevation gain.

Many thanks to all the participants: Judy Hummerich, Richard Whitcomb, John Dykstra, Don Borad, Lois Olson, Mars Bonfire, Harriett Edwards, Betty & Austin Stirratt, Janet Bartel, Tom Hill, David Beymer, Joe Young, and David Jensen. Special thanks to Diane Dunbar for all her help.

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