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Mount Gleason

4 August 2001

By: George Wysup

Leaders: George Wysup and Frank Goodykoontz

I did my best to impersonate David Eisenberg (bum knee) on the Aug 4 introductory hike to Mt. Gleason. I smeared Rogaine all over my body, but no good (hair) came of it. I tried to grow a 'stache, but there wasn't enough time. I considered shaving my head, but thought better of it. I even strove to adopt an Eisenberg-like comportment, though my act needs a lot of work.

Anyway, 21 unsuspecting persons met co-leader Frank Goodykoontz and me at La Cañada rideshare point for the advertised relaxed-paced PCT hike to Mt Gleason. I fooled no one, even though I stated my name as Eisenberg. Neither Frank nor I was certain as to the exact trailhead as intended by scheduled leader David, so we ad-libbed and picked a spot on Mt. Gleason Road just past the (ex NIKE site) prison camp where the PCT meets the road. The stats are probably about 4 miles round trip, 1000 feet gain, to the summit.

After a rather lengthy restroom stop at Mill Creek Summit we herded the herd to the trailhead. The parking spot was worrisomely hot and unshaded. Fortunately the trail was shaded by oak trees, then by conifers as we gained a bit of altitude.

There was a horde of little flies attempting to keep perspiration from building on my face. These little guys and gals seemed especially fond of mucus and saliva and went for the gusto. There is just nothing like the feeling of a fly flapping its little wings trying to extricate itself from the prison of nostrillic fluids. It appeared that I, as leader, attracted the majority of the bugs, who were probably just too impatient to wait for the other hikers. Anyway, the fly situation was not conducive to stopping frequently to commune with nature, so I contented myself with pointing out ponderosa pines, incense cedars, white firs, sugar and coulter pine cones, etc., while on the march. I carefully explained that we had not sought out the only buggy spot in the entire National Forest, that there were similar flies everywhere. A more pleasant insect was a large butterfly that no one could identify. Later research shows it to be the California Sister, a denizen of oak forests.

As we turned off the trail and ascended Gleason's summit, we gained access to the breeze that is the enemy of the little insects. The summit, while not really very spectacular as HPS summits go, was pleasant enough and there was adequate shade to make for an enjoyable luncheon (and mini-nap, for some). We were able to commune a bit, pointing out the subtle differences between the scarlet bugler and the California fuchsia, and surmising that a yellow-flowered weed was likely of the buckwheat family.

We refrained from straying from the summit to investigate the uninteresting flat area that is another remnant of the old NIKE missile site. Instead, we proceeded whence we came, to the cars. I used up some of my worst geologic puns, pointing out that the crumbly rock was schist, but most people take it for granite, and that it is not a gneiss rock. Granite is an ingenious rock while schist is metaphoric, and the shale is a largely sedentary rock. After this I totally lost their attention and most were anxious to drive off, out of earshot.

One of the hikers, Zobeida Molina, who is becoming rather serious about the HPS list, had an "orphan" in the area, Iron Mtn #2. Frank and I leapt at the opportunity to escort her to this destination (her peak #93), despite the heat. Our motivation was not the fact that Zobeida is an attractive lady. We just like to help people. None of the other participants were inclined to join us. The other participants (if you want your name transcribed correctly you must print clearly on the sign-in sheet!): Marge Baker (?), Henry Chan, Leo Cordell, John DePoy, Joe Dossen, Pat and Doug Fleischer, Eliane George, John Jacobsen, Charlotte Kaster, Joyce Kier, Luan Kirk, Ron Kohm, Susan Mallory, Norton Markin, Susan McGregor, Jim Menechy, Mark Pritchard, Jan Scalise, and Barbara Simpson.

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