Scodie Mountain hike, January 6, 2018.

Another early rise to meet Diana and Jorge at the Newhall Avenue ride-share for a hike to Scodie Mountain near Walker Pass. We stopped at Panera in Palmdale for breakfast, after which we drove to the campground where we waited for Sierra Club hiking group. This hike would be a test for Larry Pond to become a Sierra Club Hiking Leader. In all 28 people showed up for this hike, which is by far the largest group I ever joined! After the usual introductions and explanation of the rules while hiking as a group, we got on our way.

We quickly reached the Pacific Crest Trail, which we followed for about ¼ mile to a point where we turned left into a gully. We followed this gully for about 2 miles, at first at an easy grade, but later on it became more steep and sandy, which was hard on my feet. Fortunately we took a break once we reached a plateau covered with a large grove of pinyon pines. Here we could really start to feel the cold temperature and the wind picking up dramatically.

After the break, the route finding became more difficult, and Larry made us wait a number of times, so he could get his bearing. We followed the broad ridge southeast, then east, and southeast again, until we reached the cut-off for the summit block of Scodie Mountain. At the bottom of the large summit rock, Larry explained that the top of the rock had only room for a few people at the time, so he went up first to collect the Register box, after which I was able to reach the top! The wind was blasting between 50 and 60 miles and hour, which made it dangerous to stand up and take the time to enjoy the views all around. After just a few moments, I decided to climb down several feet, where I was out of the wind. We all found a place to sit or stand on that side of the summit block, when Bill Simpson surprised us all with 2 bottles of champagne and 2 bottles of cider to celebrate Larry Pond successfully leading us to the summit!

We took a nice snack break on the rock, after which Jorge and I explored the summit plateau and take some pictures, while fighting the strong winds. With the celebration coming to end, we started back down the same way we came to a point where we dropped down a different gully from the one we came up on. For a little while the way through the gully was easy going, until Larry told us that we had reached a 40waterfall, and that we would have to traverse around it carefully. We dropped down steeply on one side of the frozen falls, crossing it at the bottom. We stayed in the gully for a while longer, losing elevation fast, and climbing down large boulders, until trail start to level out.

When we reached a deep gully perpendicular from where we came from, Larry got confused on which direction to go, but after he consulted his map and compass, we were back on our way and soon reached the turn-off for the PCT. Ten minutes later, we were back at the campground where we all high fived Larry with his successful provisional.