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Waterman Mountain

24 July 1999

By: Diane Dunbar

Leaders: Frank Goodykoontz, Diane Dunbar

So far as I know, as the person responsible for the Rendezvous (I created it 7 years ago, and have organized it every year since then), this is the first year a group had a problem getting there on time. I, of course, had to be the leader to do that!!! My husband and I had attended a wedding in Lake Arrowhead Village the night before, and stayed at the lodge. We misjudged the time required to drive over the back route, across the I-5, along all the winding mountain roads to Kratka Ridge to meet Frank and the group, arriving late!! Frank and a wonderful, congenial group of 10 people waited there patiently for us.

Frank led with his usual finesse, his cross-country skills in route finding and ease of footing in difficult terrain evident as always. The ridges on Kratka and Waterman are so remote there, one cannot even see the highway or signs of humans anywhere, except for a deserted tiny ski cabin and two ski lifts spaced widely apart. All we saw were beautiful trees, breathtaking views and not one footprint until we reached the trail from Buckhorn, continuing up toward Mt Waterman. We were almost to the peak when I traded places with Frank, leading the rest of the way. We ran into several Sierra Club people on the way down as we neared the peak, but Bobcat Thompson & group, and Frank and Ruth Dobos and group, also Byron and Maggie & group were still there, along with a number of people who had come up individually and were waiting there to greet us with a cheer as we approached.

As soon as we had all arrived, Bobcat performed his traditional yearly duty of opening the champagne bottle I always bring, and we handed out lots of little glasses of the bubbly, as my husband spread out our portion of the potluck, his favorite, sardines and crackers on the Hors d'oeuvres rock. The people who had waited for us were full of smiles, welcomes and jovial conversation, and I thought, not for the first time, how grateful I am for my Sierra Club friends, they mean so much to me.

We were the last to leave the peak, cleaning up the last little bit of hors d'oeuvres leftovers off the rock (one of our participants was delighted to finish the sardines, he hadn't had any in a long time!!). We carried the rest down in large ziploc bags, etc, in our packs.

It struck me again, as it does every year, because my group is always the last to leave, and I always do the last bit of cleanup, that this is a PERFECT place to hold a rendezvous (of 85 people, this year!!!). There is no vegetation to trample there, and so after all that reunioning and hugging and laughing and snacking, one could never tell anyone was there!! We can have fun and not ruin a thing!! All the beginning hikers have a rare chance to chum with veteran climbers, and people meet who haven't seen each other in years!! I love the Mt Waterman Rendezvous. Thank you, Frank for your wonderful job of leading, especially the brilliant quick zip down to Buckhorn, arriving ahead of trail people who left the peak long before us, but who chose the easier route because of beginners, etc. We were able to say goodby to them twice!! And thank you, especially, to my group that day, a jovial fun group of people who enjoyed Frank's artistic, non-traditional, unusual, fun route and put up with our tardiness at the beginning! Hope to see you again soon. Participants: Richard Whitcomb, Terry Dunbar, Ginny Heringer, Jim Heringer, Maria Lee, Denelle Rozell, Peter Dille, Robert Mullens, Dan Butler, Ray Randall.

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