Priest Rock

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

With: Steve Sywyk

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Day 5 of the shelter-in-Place order had Steve and I out for our Friday picnic with Tom. We chose to visit Priest Rock in the Sierra Azul OSP, a place I had been to on numerous occasions in the past, but not since I started tracking summit visits. It isn't much of a summit, mostly must a local highpoint along a ridgeline descending to Lexington Reservoir. There's a small rock less than five feet in height that might be inspiration for the name. Mostly, it's a utility road that services a transmission line multi-purposed as a hiking trail for the area residents. We used a combination of the Lime Kiln and Priest Rock Trails for a five mile loop with modest gain. The THs were mostly full as we were no longer the only ones who didn't have to work on a Friday. We kept our distance from each other for the most part, even driving separately to the TH. After about 3mi of hiking, we parked ourselves under one of the transmission towers at the end of a spur road where we had a nice view, a grassy spot to sit, and some privacy while we had our picnic. We brought our own drink and snacks, but otherwise carried on like any other Friday hike. After the hike, we started down the trail and became curious about a little-used spur road, wondering where it headed. Perhaps we were a bit too inebriated to realize it was simply another spur road leading to another tower. At the bottom of this spur we found the tower and wondered briefly if we could return to the main road via a cross-country shortcut. I gave it up almost immediately when I spotted poison oak, but Steve wanted to be contrarian. I bet him I could easily walk back the longer way faster than he could go up through the brush. He got only about six feet up when he slipped, tumbled into the poison oak and rolled back down the hill. I couldn't get out the words "Are you alright?" while I was laughing uncontrollably. Maybe it was a little too much to drink...

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