Smith Mountain, Sirretta Peak
By: Jerry & Nancy Keating
What was billed as an intro trip was just that for several participants, but most of the 20 persons on the outing were seasoned SPSers. Six, in fact, were list finishers. One was a Master Emblem holder. Two others-Bill Hauser of San Jose and Roy Randall of Los Angeles-already had enough peaks to qualify for the SPS but needed to climb two peaks while on a scheduled SPS trip.
All 20 participants, including those who were camping with the Canyon Explorers Club, first gathered at the Blackrock Ranger Station on Saturday morning, then convoyed to the end of a forest road immediately north of Smith Mtn. (9533'). To ensure each newcomer would have instant encouragement, Gordon MacLeod, Barbara Lilley, Roy Magnuson, George Toby, Mary Motheral and Barbara Reber served as deputy leaders. The climb up the well-ducked north ridge went smoothly, and everyone enjoyed the 360-degree panorama from the summit.
A visit to the Bald Mtn. Botanical Area in the early afternoon not only provided another fine view of the Kern Plateau but an unexpected encounter with DPSer Bob Michael. He was leading a geology study tour for a Bakersfield-based group. The SPS/CEC contingent camped Saturday night at the Mosquito Meadow cul-de-sac, a designated fire-safe area (permit required) with abundant downed wood and a small stream nearby. The previous night had been spent at Troy Meadow Campground where the low temperature was a chilly 28 degrees, but the overnight minimum at Mosquito Meadow was a comfortable 40 degrees.
On Sunday morning, 16 persons climbed southward up the trail for the 9390-foot saddle where two persons opted to check out. The rest of the party continued cross-country on a route that yielded Sirretta Pk. (9977) in less than 2 1/2 hours. Again, views were exceptional. With the forest thick most of the way back, Gordon relied on GPS to get us down exactly at the roadhead. Thanks to him and the other deputies for helping to make this trip successful.
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