Lightner Peak hike, October 21, 2017

Another peak on the Sierra Club HPS list Jorge and Diana still needed to complete their list for the second time.   I was  not able to climb this peak last summer, due to fires in that area, so this was a good opportunity to check the peak off my list.  It's a long drive to the trailhead just outside of Lake Isabella.  We started our hike around 10:00AM following the Remington Ridge Trail for about 5.5 miles to a sided trail leading to the summit of Lightner Peak.

After about a mile, we passed by a number of Buckeye Trees, which had large seed pods hanging from its branches.  The pear shaped pods have a large brown seed inside of it.The seeds poisonous, and resourceful Native Americans used the ground-up seeds to catch fish. They poured them into pools and streams and caught the fish that floated up!  If you grind the seeds and leach them enough, they can be eaten. They also have medicinal properties; they can relieve the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

The beautiful trail keeps climbing relentlessly with beautiful views and passing by some cattle guards.  Even tough we did not see any cows, we did have to avoid the many "land mines" they had strategically placed on and around the trail!

At the halfway mark, we took a short snack break, where we found several of the wild cucumber seeds.  On we went, continuing the steep uphill trail through a beautiful grove of oak trees showing off their fall colors.  We walked to the back side of Lightner Peak, trying to find a use trail that would lead to the summit.  After a while Diana found an indistinct path going up the slope to a saddle between two peaks.  Jorge decided to scout out the peak on the left but discovered it was the wrong peak.  Back at where Diana and I were waiting, he quickly found the right trail, and  about 10 minutes later were on top of the peak!

After signing the register and playing around the rocks for a while, we returned back the same way, and I finally figured out way the way up was so hard:  large sections of the trail were quite steep!  Partway down, we found a dried out honey comb to the trail, which must have fallen from a tree.  A little further down we saw a petrified creature from the movie Alien, which must have been left behind by his friends thousands of years ago...

Getting pretty close to the trailhead, we finally noticed the guilty parties who had left behind the "land mines" on the trail.  Once back at the car, we loaded up our gear and stopped at Lake Isabella for some milk shakes and cokes, before driving back to LA.