By: Larry Tidball, Scott Jamison
We had a total of 12 for this backpack up Suprise Canyon. Bill Oliver consented to act as the co-leader when Scot Jamison got poison oak on his shoulders while clearing brush in his yard and couldn't carry a pack.
Our trip was one short at the start when one hiker decided to get a head start on the hike. Instead of meeting the rest of us out at the Ballarat Road Saturday morning, he drove in Friday night and made a wrong turn in the dark and ended up at the mouth of Happy Canyon. He had quite a solo hike up the canyon before he realized that we weren't going to catch up with him. This was all reported over the phone after the trip was over.
The residents at Chris Wieht's Camp were upset at the Sierra Club because a S.C. group from Bakersfield had been up Suprise Canyon in Jeeps earlier in the year. In winching up over the waterfalls they had overturned some vehicles and had fouled the water supply with oil and gasoline. This was apparently the first time vehicles had been up to Panamint City since the road was washed out.
We had a pleasant backpack up the old road and had a chance to closely observe a group of 5 bighorn sheep during one of our breaks. The afternoon was spent exploring the old ghost town. Most of us camped in the old cabins after happy hour, and some reported hearing ghostly noises during the night.
Sunday we hiked up the mining road past the Wyoming Mine and then up the ridge to Sentinel Peak. There was a trace of snow on the North facing slopes which allowed for some boot skiing on the way down. The backpack out to the cars was uneventful. Thanks to Bill for filling in as co-leader and for leading the summit charge.
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