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Cahuilla Mountain, Little Cahuilla Mountain

18 May 2003

By: Laura Joseph

A Spring Fling Outing led by Laura Joseph, Sandy Sperling, and Sherry Ross

Sandy Sperling, naturalist Sherry Ross and I chose these peaks for Sunday to allow for shorter hikes en route back to L.A. We were joined by Pat Arredondo, Brent Crookham, Dave Comerzan, and Norm Stabeck. Cahuilla, which can be a dull hike in some seasons, is gorgeous at this time of year once one passes the saddle and curves around behind the ridge. Spectacular meadows full of wildflowers in all colors and shapes are shaded by handsome trees. Sherry identified the flowers (well, some of them) and introduced us to tasty miners' lettuce. Our idyllic lunch (we did have stuff in addition to the lettuce) in one of the meadows under a shade tree was rudely interrupted by a tick.

Li'l C turned out to be a record-setter (we think) for snake encounters. First, I stepped over a rattler about one foot long before Sherry noticed the beast and shouted a warning. That little guy got out of our way but not so his daddy who was waiting for us a few yards ahead. That BIG rattler was p....d! He spit and rattled and eyed us most viciously. We were 5-2 for turning around but Sherry knows about these critters and Brent is fearless so they did aggressive but harmless things with sticks and rocks 'till papa backed off the trail. We marked the spot with a huge X and ambled forth. On our return, we began to exercise caution (I ceded the lead) and make a lot of noise when we met our X, but thought we were home free until Dave shouted out, "Watch it!!" Norm and I had walked right over another rattler. This one, perhaps the more demure mama, was playing invisible behind a rock and had no intention of attacking. We made it safely back to our vehicles.

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