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Gnarly

(2/28/07) Trip report and photos by Allan W

Our journey to Borrego Springs started off in Kensington with Glen, Andy, and myself (I'm Allan). After a long hiatus, it was truly a pleasure to see both of these wonderful people. With all the catching up, time passed quickly and we arrived at the visitor's center where we met Larry. This was a good vantage point to see why this peak is named Indianhead. You could imagine a staunch native American donning a full headdress. The view was quite striking as the morning's light cast appropriate shadows.

The way the hike started, I didn't think this was an ordinary Perfect Pace hike. We started on a trail and, for a bit, there was no real climbing. We came upon an oasis of sorts and waded through the forest of palms. The temperature was cool. I felt child-like, scampering in the woods. The hike became a big playground as the trail disappeared. The stream guided us as we scrambled over here and under there.

We reached the two sisters; two palms that acted as sentinels to the upward climb. Chollas ("teddy bear", my a**) and agave plants guarded the mountainside, silently protecting their native liege. Blood was shed (see pictures). A good fight was fought. We lost one half-way into battle. The last siege upon the magnificent facade was challenging but we coursed onward and enjoyed victory.

After a much needed lunch, we descended, meeting up with our compadre. The descent proved as much of a challenge, the mountain proving a worthy opponent, unyielding and, yet, forgiving.

And, then, dinner. The Red Ocotillo. (I'm done with the medieval histrionics.) Good food, a feisty waitress, great conversation (Larry's got some great stories -- looking forward to hearing more of those). And, yes, a 7 mile hike took six and a half hours. And, by no means, did we slack. This was a great hike -- challenging, great company, and, yes, the sense of victory when you reach the peak. I went with a couple and hiked in the Calcite Mines this past weekend and told them how we hiked Indianhead. They looked at me as if I was nuts. They said the hike is difficult and 'gnarly.' I smiled inside and felt proud that I belong to Perfect Pace.