By: Dean Acheson
What a great time we all had. Some of us came in Friday night and camped and some arrived Saturday morning for the hike and many more arrived Saturday afternoon for the party and campfire. All together between 70 and 80 people came to help cheer Dean and Pat Acheson to their ultimate climb of Sombrero, their final climb of the DPS list!
About 9:30 Saturday morning we all piled into vehicles and drove the 3 miles to the trailhead. About 50 went up the peak, including 6 desert peak dogs of various shapes and sizes. All made it easily up the peak. It was a beautiful, clear day with a slight breeze - the best climbing weather with a providential cloud which appeared off and on throughout the mid part of the day. Erik Siering had his two-way radio and went ahead while Suzanne Mamedalin carried the 2nd radio and swept to make sure no one went off route or got left behind. Tom Sumner's 3-foot sombrero was said to help show the way for many participants.
On the peak we spent about 1 and 1/2 hours - toasting with champagne and sparkling white grape juice - sharing chocolates and peanuts and goodies and taking many many pictures. Patty Kline pinned Pat and Dean with their ram's-be hind-list-finish-pin and Dave Stevens christened the pins with the traditional champagne pin dip. The oldest person to climb the peak was George Toby 79 (Bill Grey was only one week younger) and the youngest was Pat and Dean's niece, Tara Henry from Yuma, at only 6 years (Tara made the peak all by herself!)
When we finally got back to camp even more people had arrived and the real party began. We had a large fire in a big wheelbarrow (minus wheel) that Dean brought - we had tons of firewood - and the fire went on into the wee hours. There were pumpkins scattered among the rocks behind our camp with inside lights flickering. There were the traditional campfire stories, guitars and singing. Sue-Wyman Henney and Pat and Dean's son Steve played guitars while others sang.
And we all kept eating all evening. The bountiful potluck was set up under a canopy with tarps extending on either side (in case of rain that never came) and as people kept on eating when one dish would disappear another would magically take its place. Jake Holshuh and Sue Leverton came from San Diego with a yummy "tres leche" cake that somehow disappeared before they were able to set it on the table; Sue and Vic's spiked super fudge cake was, as far as anyone could tell, only a memory (we sure like our desserts!) This bunch inhales food!
A special treat for the evening was Sherry Harsh's famous rendition of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" (no one does it like Sherry) - and it was especially fantastic as Sherry eerily crouched and weaved around the campfire. Everyone said it was her best rendition ever!
Sherry Harsh and Delores Holladay were the leaders on Dean and Pat's very first desert peak in February, 1987 - Eagle and Brown. It was especially wonderful that both Sherry and Delores were able to be present at the completion of the list 13 years later!
A surprise fireworks display put the finishing touches on a good old-fashioned list finish with all the wonderful friends who get together for these events. (The source of the fireworks could not be firmly established.)"
The next morning was the traditional gourmet pancake breakfast - professionally flipped by Dean and by Linda McDermott - while Pat made gourmet coffee continuously under the big canopy. While we all had breakfast, Pat's two nieces (Mattie 10 and Tara 6) climbed the rocks behind the campsite with Skyler Smith, Steve and Debbie's youngest son. The kids just couldn't seem to get enough climbing - obviously the new generation of desert peak climbers!
Everyone started packing up and some went off to Agua Caliente Hot Springs, a mere 5 miles or so from the campsite. It was a perfect weekend with wonderful friends and camaraderie and that's what it's all about!
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