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Timber Mountain, Bighorn Peak

3 August 2001

By: Karen Isaacson Leverich

Leaders: Southern Courtney, Mars Bonfire, Carleton Shay

So much for my good intentions of writing a little report about each hike, shortly after it happens. The point of this isn't edifying (or entertaining) SCHIKER groupies, it's that my memory is notoriously bad, and I really would like some way, next month or next year, to remember a little bit about each peak I've visited. My own vanity, in other words!

So anyhow, last Friday, thirteen of us gathered in the Ice House Canyon parking lot. Our leaders were Mars Bonfire, Southern Courtney, and Carleton Shay. Also present were Rosemary Campbell and her daughter, Tracy. (I think Tracy! Clearly her mother's daughter...) Plus David Comerzan, Bob Beach, Mei Kwan, Michelle, Joanne Griego, Karen Leverich, Jerry (I lost his last name, George suggests it was Atric, I think maybe George is pulling my leg), and Paul McKenna.

Ice House Canyon on Friday wasn't a whole lot different from Ice House Canyon the previous Tuesday. I think we even ran into some of the same trail runners, out doing their fitness thing. Columbines, monkey flowers, the lovely spring -- it was every bit as lovely as I remembered. Along the way, we discussed important topics like the efficacy of fire arms if one were ambushed by a cougar. Since such attacks usually happen from the back, and without warning, the consensus was that the most one could expect is that maybe the cougar would chip a tooth on the gun in the process of having the hiker for breakfast. Better to travel in a group!

At the saddle, we opted to ascend Timber by the trail (a nice gentle grade up a forested slope) rather than the ridge. At the turn off for the summit, we lost Dave and Bob -- they'd decided that two T's beat one, and were off to bag Thunder and Telegraph. Everyone else headed up the hill, Mars, Mei and I lagging a bit behind to admire a huge flock of large, very black, birds. Mars could see markings on the bottom of their wings, so maybe turkey vultures? If so, it wasn't their day -- all eleven of us arrived safely atop Timber.

Where we found not one, but two registers! One in a container labeled Chapman Mountain nailed to a tree, another in the usual cairn. Just to be on the safe side, we signed both. (So, does this count as two peaks, Timber and Chapman? Where are the Peak Police when you need them?)

To get back to the saddle, a "new" route was proposed, going down the ridge. One of the participants wondered if that involved going straight off a cliff, and if so, did we need to sign out first? It turned out to be not nearly that abrupt, though it was a bit steep and slippery in places. It certainly was a faster way down, we were back at the saddle in no time.

Since Timber was the only official goal of the hike, many of the group opted to head back down the trail -- Southern, Rosemary, Tracy, and May all signed out. For the rest of us, it was proposed we go up Bighorn Peak, on the other side of the saddle. Me and Joanne: "But that's on the schedule for Tuesday!" Mars and Carleton: "On Tuesday, you could go around it and wait for the group in the saddle before Ontario Peak."

Okie-doke, we were sold. Joanne and I had another hike coming up on Monday, thought we might be a bit tired from that, so something we could do now that would make Tuesday a bit less strenuous sounded like a definite win. We started slugging our way pretty much straight up the ridge towards Bighorn Peak. Slippery rocky dirt, not my favorite stuff. Michelle is young and strong, and our slow steady pace annoyed her, so she and Mars took the lead while the rest of us plodded slowly up. Mars just seemed to levitate up that hill, it was amazing to watch. (Once the rest of us eventually caught up, he was accused of having helium in his pack. "Freeze-dried water!" he corrected. So now you know how he does it!)

We didn't find a register (but watch this space for the report on Tuesday's hike to Bighorn, Ontario and Sugarloaf for an interesting wrinkle). Mars considered fetching the extra register from Timber, and then (I think) considered doing that on some other day. Michelle, while she did great charging up a hill, wanted a kinder gentler slope on the way down (she even suggested we use the Chapman Trail to descend Ice House Canyon), so rather than going back the way we came, we headed west towards Ontario Peak, then down a brief gully to intersect the trail back to the saddle. We were back at the cars by mid-afternoon.

72 peaks and counting. I'll catch up with Zobeida yet. (Congratulations, Zobeida!)

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