By: Doug Mantle
Seven of us-John Jensen, Susan Loftus, Barbara and Dave Sholle, Erik Siering, and the two leaders-met Saturday morning at the trailhead on the southeast side of Courtwright Reservoir (about two hours from Fresno). Most were ready to go at 6:30 and ready to get moving in the 30 degree air. The plan had been to hike all the way to Lower Indian Lake, but we changed and camped at the crossing of Post Corral Creek instead a little ways back from the strewn where there was a nice fire ring and log to sit on as well as good campsites. Having very quickly set up camp, we continued on the Hell-For-Sure Pass trail and onto the Indian Lakes trail, leaving camp about 10: 15 and getting to Lower Indian Lake just before 1:00.
After a quick lunch, we left the now faint trail for Mt. Henry. Barbara, basking in the glory and lack of compulsion of having finished the list two weeks before, decided not to climb Henry and started back to camp. Dave soon decided to join her. The rest of us made good progress to the west ridge and slope of Henry, finding one or two easy class 3 moves working up to the ridge, which we avoided on the way down via a chute, dubbed John's chute because he had spotted it on the way in. We were on the summit by a little after 3:00, arriving sooner than projected. The clouds, which had begun gathering about lunch time, lifted and drifted away so that we could enjoy outstanding views of Goddard, Darwin, Humphreys, Abbot, and many other peaks. Since we had a long way to go however, we did not linger on the summit after congratulating Susan on her sixth Sierra peak and eligibility to join the SPS. On our way back to Lower Indian Lake, we passed the Turf Lakes and Davis Lake for a little variation from our route up.
We made good time back to camp, arriving at about 6:45 and being delighted by the campfire Barbara and Dave had started. Not only did we share food goodies (or good foodies) around the campfire but also reports on various Henrys such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(we booed his poetry) and Henry James. We estimated that we covered 22 miles on Saturday with 5600'gain-a lot, but we were pleased to have the prospect of an early return on Sunday. Once snuggled in our sleeping bags we were serenaded for a while by coyotes enjoying the nearly full moon, quite nearby.
Sunday morning we left camp a little after 7:30-luxury!-and got to the cars in about three hours. This was the last scheduled SPS climb of the season, a successful and pleasant finale with good hiking, good conversation, good friends.
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